Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 11-17

May 01, 2014

peanut butter and jelly

Dr. Bob Pierson, a Delaware Valley College food science, nutrition and management faculty member served as an expert on food allergies for KYW. 

Eating is a part of daily life that many of us enjoy, but for some people accidentally consuming the wrong food can be extremely dangerous. For those who are affected by food allergies, eating just a small amount of a food can lead to: breathing difficulties, swelling of the lips and throat, abdominal cramps and vomiting, and sometimes, even death.

With Food Allergy Awareness Week coming up May 11-17, Delaware Valley College Associate Professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Management Dr. Bob Pierson, weighed in on a KYW story about why more people seem to have food allergies today than in the past.

Food allergies are a growing concern in schools. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that about 4 percent of children had food allergies. A 2011 national survey of 40,000 families published in PEDIATRICS found that, of those surveyed, twice as many kids, about 8 percent of the children were affected. The most common types of foods that cause serious allergic reactions in the U.S. are:  peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Dr. Pierson told KYW reporter Lynne Adkins that there are several possible causes for the rise in food allergies.

One possible cause that Dr. Pierson points to is our overly clean environments.

“People in third world countries tend not to have food allergies,” Dr. Pierson told KYW. “So there’s still that debate for regular allergies that our environment is too clean and therefore, we don’t build up enough microbes in our digestive system, and that may actually affect how people react to food allergies as well as other allergies.”

Check out the full interview with KYW