Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Bananas Are the New Nuts

It is somewhat disconcerting to learn that the incidence of people diagnosed with 'oral allergies' to fruit and vegetables in the UK is increasing faster (although this is probably down to carrying out a greater number of tests) than for counterparts with 'peanut allergies' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7988483.stm). Although rarely life-threatening, individuals with oral allergies can show a range of unpleasant responses (from swelling around the mouth and itching to swelling of the entire throat and gastric disturbances) in response to basic food items such as sprouts, apples, cucumber and bananas. This is awkward. An apple for the teacher may be construed as an attack on that individual! Children can now reject sprouts by maintaining that they have an allergy. The campaign to get people to improve their diet by eating 'five a day' portions of fruit and vegetables (http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publichealth/Healthimprovement/FiveADay/FiveADaygeneralinformation/DH_135) appears seriously imperilled.

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