So the project to create menus free from the top 14 allergens has been a learning curve for me. I’ve learnt loads, although I still have lots of questions, and I wanted to pull together an intro to each of the top 14, and some of the challenges of living a free-from lifestyle.
I need to be able to track everything I’ve learnt, but I hope the info is useful to you too, and I would love for to share your knowledge, resources or experiences too.
I hope to finish writing up a couple a week, and then keep editing them as I keep learning, so please check back on progress.
I’ve been doing some research. When we set up the concept of an allergy friendly restaurant, we settled on avoiding the top 14 allergens because it’s clear and unambiguous – products must have those allergens labelled and so it makes the process of sourcing products easier… But I did wonder, how common are allergies to these top 14 allergens? What about their relative frequency? And the other way – how frequent are allergies to those things outside of the top 14? And what are they?
Of the top 14, Jerry is allergic to nuts, peanuts, fish, crustaceans, molluscs and egg (severe); soya (not as severe) and sesame (we think) – but also wheat (not gluten); poultry (severe), mushrooms (not as severe) and certain raw fruit (very much dependent on immune system).
How common is this? I’ve searched for evidence on how the European top 14 allergens were chosen and couldn’t find anything – if you know of any studies or reasons for the choice please point me towards it!
So anyway, I’m intrigued – what are you (or the person because of whom you are reading this blog) allergic to? Inside or outside the top 14. I’ve heard of a strawberry allergy pretty often (but is this fresh, or also strawberry extract?). The only way out of this conundrum seems to be to collect some data on it. Pending getting a large organisation to do a statistically significant data collection exercise, I thought I’d kick off with a simple form where you could tell me about yourself. Of course you’re a self-selecting group so your answers can’t give me statistical significance, but if there’s enough evidence of something interesting, it might sow the seeds for some deeper research.
I won’t collect any personal data (please sign up separately to the mailing list if you want to be kept up to date with any info), but I will publish what I get in an open format (I work for the Open Data Institute after all).
Any questions for me? If not, thanks in advance for taking the time for this!
Questionnaire: Here (opens in a new tab)