At Brioche we take care to provide safe and nutritious meals for all people, regardless of their food allergies or in-tolerances. We take steps to know of every ingredient in our meals and are ready to help our customers make safe choices with what they eat.
Around 1 in 20 Australians have either a food allergy or intolerance. Food allergies and food intolerances are two separate things.
Food intolerances are abnormal non-allergic physiological responses to ingested foods or additives. They are not immune related like food allergies and have very distinct symptoms to allergies. There are several types of food intolerances:
Metabolic food intolerances are caused by the absense or imbalance of chemicals (such as enzymes) in the body. Lactase deficiency (a cause of lactose intolerance) is an example of a hereditary metabolic food intolerance. Symptoms that occur from the ingestion of lactose (dairy) include:
Another example is coeliac disease. Symptoms include:
Once diagnosis is established for both diseases, lifelong avoidance of foods with dairy or gluten is necessary to control each intolerance.
Foods with a high histamine content can provoke strong metabolic reactions. Spoiled fish causes scombroid food poisoning. Cheese and red wine contain tyramine, ingestion sometimes resulting in migranes.
Food Aversion is the avoidance of certain foods due to a variety of reasons. Some people describe unusual non-specific symptoms which they ascribe to a food allergy, but is probably better described as a food aversion. People who suffer such symptoms may be unable to identify the specific foods, or may attribute their symptoms to foods that don't typically induce food allergies. In such circumstances, tests of allergies is usually negative. The symptoms experienced however may be distressing and it is generally unhelpful to dismiss the possibility that the symptoms are provoked by food. Referral to a specialist may provide reassurance. Sensitivity to food and food additives has been linked to behavioural disorders, including hyperactivity.
Foods may contain naturally occurring toxins, or be contaminated by added chemicals or bacterial toxins, causing discomfort and potentially hazardous symptoms.
Food allergies are abnormal adverse responses to proteins in food that are normally harmless to people. Reactions can range from mild, (like a skin rash or runny nose) to the more severe. In severe cases, anaphylaxis may occur, causing breathing and swallowing difficulties and causing swelling of the lips, tongue and throat. These symptoms can progress to loss of consciousness and, if left untreated, death.
Allergic reactions can occur immediately, within a few hours, or days after encountering the allergen. A visible reaction may take up to four days to appear due to ongoing chemical changes in the body.
Anyone at risk of severe allergic reactions should carry their medication with them at all times, making sure it is in date and of adequate quantity. Sufferers of food allergens should read food labels and be sure of what they are eating. Many allergens, such as peanuts, shellfish and milk, are often not obvious in menu items or packaged foods, even after a visual inspection.
Most people who have allergies have raised levels of IgE (antibodies that trigger extreme immune responses: e.g. asthma, anaphylactic shocks ). It is not known exactly why the body's defence mechanisms can go wrong in this way. However, immume defense mechanism issues are known to run in families, an inherited tendency known as 'atopy'. If the allergy is inherited however, the receiver may not possess the parent's symptoms or react to the same allergens. The parents, for example, might have an allergy to cat fur and get asthma. Their child instead develops perennial rhinitis from a food allergy.
Research conducted by Public Health Services in Queensland indicates 25% of people believe they have a food allergy. Food allergy is a diagnosis that should be made on the basis of tests that link food allergens to evidence of an allergy in a person. It is inappropriate to label a description of symptoms as a food allergy in the absence of any indication of an immune response.
Use of “Alternative” tests to establish a food allergy is generally viewed by most medical bodies as unhelpful and misleading. Each of the following tests should be treated with caution: provocation-neutralisation testing, leukocytotoxic testing, hair analysis, vega testing, applied kinesiology and radiaesthesia.
Food Allergy Statistics
There has been a marked increase in the diagnosis of food allergies in Australia, raising concerns over people's nutritional intake. Australia has one of the highest prevalences of food allergies amongst developed nations, children generally sufferring more from allergies:
Sufferers need to be aware of the extent of their condition. Restaurant and cafe staff must always be aware of what ingredients are in the menu. Friends and family must be ready to act if someone is having a reaction. Assumptions and inaction all too often leads to avoidable reactions.