Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room in the US. It’s an alarming statistic that worries parents and adults across the nation. In some extreme cases, mere nanograms of peanut protein can trigger a dangerous reaction and a mad dash to the hospital.
The US Centre for Disease Control reported that from 1997 to 2011 the number of children with food allergies increased 50 percent. Over 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, at a cost of $25bn each year.
“A hundred years ago people did have food allergies, but it wasn’t to the same epidemic proportions that we are suffering from now,” says Dr Kari Nadeau, an expert in adult and paediatric allergies and head of a special allergy research centre at Stanford University.
“People are very much living with this disabling worry of having an accidental exposure.”