First, a small lesson about food allergy and intolerance, simply because there is
a huge amount of confusion surrounding these terms. A food allergy is an overreaction of the body’s immune system to a specific part of a food.
Food allergy affects mainly infants and children with a
family background of allergic disorders such as asthma, hayfever and eczema.
The symptoms of food allergy usually appear fairly quickly and can include breathing
problems, skin rash and stomach upsets. Milk, eggs and wheat are most likely to be
the culprits – but fortunately most children grow out of these allergies by the age of
four or five. Allergies to shellfish and peanuts are less common but can be very severe
and may last for life.
Food intolerance is a chemical reaction; it occurs when you are unable to digest
a particular food and it has nothing to do with the immune system. About 5-10%
of the population appears to be affected, to at least some degree. Natural food
chemicals to which people may be intolerant are salicylates, amines, glutamate (MSG)