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Harpers Peanut Allergy author Meredith Broussard says Food Allergy Deaths are statistically insignificant.


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It's been five years since Meredith Broussard declared food allergy deaths a non-issue:

A call to the CDC press office revealed that the number of deaths from food allergies, as collected from 2.5 million death certificates across the country, is miniscule. Only eleven people died from food allergies in 2005, the last year for which we have data available. More people died from lawnmower accidents.

The flawed food allergy death statistic has been questioned, investigated and debunked in articles published in ForbesChild, the New York Times, and in a piece I wrote for Harper's.

I still don't know what to believe.

I've been to the ER because my throat closed because of something I've eaten, twice.

So I'm still going to avoid certain foods.

I can imagine how hard it is for some parents to know what to do for their kids.

It's life-altering. Always being afraid that your person will die because someone else's kid ate XXX, keeping him/her home from birthday parties... I don't have those issues,but I had to be cognizant of students and my neighbor's son--couldn't even go over to play if we'd had any nuts that morning... I had a girl at a prom I organized who was like that for peanuts. I shipped her food in specially and prepped it myself. You can't know if a kitchen has utensils that are contaminated, etc, at that level of allergy.  What foods do you steer clear of? 

Shrimp and Macadamia Nuts.

But I do keep reading more articles that say that almost no one dies of a food allergy:

http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/02/food-fears-run-amuck-government-outlaws.html

Here's the relevant bit:

Dr. Young’s article goes on to explain how food particles containing proteins can become airborne, such as during the peanut shelling process which can create a cloud of peanut particles, or releasing particles under pressure in an enclosed space; or high heat processing of peanuts; all of which can affect food industry workers. So, while there are case reports of severe asthma from airborne exposure to food in these extreme situations, “the typical inhalation reaction would be similar to that suffered by a cat-allergic person exposed to a cat walking into a room: itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.” As he said, the “chance of a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction from airborne exposure is very small.”

But smelling peanuts or the odor of any other food cannot cause an allergic reaction, he stressed.

When it gets down to killing people, I err on the side of caution. 

Yeah, we all do. I think that's why there's so much attention given to peanut allergies in particular.

It might be the case that only one person a year dies from it, but no one wants that happening on our watch.

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