Following intensive campaigning since Natasha, a teenager, died from sesame induced anaphylaxis in 2013, “Natasha’s Law” comes into effect today.
This makes it mandatory for food manufacturers and all types of food outlets, to ensure that every food product has clear labelling of all its ingredients (even traces), at the cost of sizeable penalties.
It is tragic that lives have to be lost first before the food industry takes this risk more seriously.
I have just reviewed some telling statistics, in the below BMJ study.
Main points: The trend of hospital admissions from anaphylaxis has risen significantly in the last two decades. More susceptible are children under 15 years, especially under 5 years of age. Yet fatal outcomes from food-related anaphylaxis are decreasing mainly due to:
- improvements in food labelling
- improved preparedness of patients, parents, medics and paramedics on how to deal with such emergencies
- more readily used allergy tests (Immunoglobulin E and skin tests)
- the extensive availability of adrenalin auto-injectors, which are no longer reluctantly prescribed
A weakness of this study is that it has not distinguished “anaphylaxis” from “anaphylactoid” (anaphylaxis-like) episodes.
This study has also found that the top foods recognised as causes of anaphylaxis are now cow’s milk proteins – not peanut, as many believed.
Not many people know that low-dose immunotherapy can reduce the risk of anaphylaxis from accidental exposures to various foods.