Although peanut allergy is not the most common of the food allergens, it creates significant life threatening situations when it does occur.
People who are prone to this allergic reaction live their whole lives having to be exceptionally careful about what they eat and what that food has been in contact with.
If there were a way of reducing this constant pressure, and stopping this allergy, it would be wonderful for these people and for the food industry in general.
An article in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology contains the findings of research that has recently been done by National Jewish Health. It shows that by blocking the activity of a specific enzyme in mice, the effects of several proteins have been significantly reduced.
Recent evidence has shown that corticosteroids may be involved in the activation of the immune cells which are linked to allergic reactions. By reducing the presence of these steroids, the likelihood of an allergic reaction to specific proteins seems to be prevented or limited.
The findings from this study were focussed on the peanut protein that causes allergic reactions and it was found that in the mice that blocking the steroid production resulted in significantly less symptoms. The results are most likely also applicable to other food allergens.
Obviously more work is going to be needed and there will be no quick fix, but there seems potential in these findings to provide relief to the growing number of people in our community who have a food allergy.
It will not be the only thing that should be done, as businesses must still ensure there is nil unintended food allergens in any food. This must be done through; education, traceability, separation, testing, cleaning, scheduling and labelling, amongst other controls and processes.
This article has been written by Rachelle Williams – The Green Food Safety Coach