- An additive used in foods such as cooking oils, crackers and waffles could be behind an increase in the rise in food allergies, according to an article by Agence France-Presse.
- Researchers at Michigan State University found that the additive tert-butylhydroquinone, or tBHQ, lowered the ability of T cells to fight against pathogens. This makes people more susceptible to allergic reactions to eggs, milk, nuts and shellfish.
- Consumers aren’t often aware of the additive’s presence in a product because it isn’t listed on food labels.
An estimated 8% of American children suffer from allergies to food, and national health agencies have reported that this number is growing. With so many allergy sufferers, there is a large consumer market that avoids food with common ingredients, like dairy, soy and gluten.
While the free-from foods category starts to address these challenges, it doesn't stop the problem. The Food Allergy Science Initiative is calling for the food and beverage industry to fund research to look at new diagnostic treatments for food allergies, which could expand the variety of food products allergy suffers are able to safely consume.
In a report from Packaged Facts, the company identified five groups that avoid certain foods and ingredients, leading with those who have allergies and intolerances. The report noted that while manufacturers would like to avoid the costs of reformulations and new packaging, they need to address consumer concerns on allergens. If there is a problematic additive, it makes sense for manufacturers to take a close look and consider new product formulations.