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Keywords:

  • food additive;
  • food allergy;
  • food intolerance;
  • non-allergic food hypersensitivity

Abstract

‘Food intolerance’ is often confused with a range of adverse symptoms which may be coincidental to ingestion of food. ‘Food intolerance’ is defined as a reaction in which symptoms must be objectively reproducible and not known to involve an immunological mechanism. A more precise term is non-allergic food hypersensitivity, which contrasts with food allergies which are due to an immunological mechanism. Some children will experience food reactions to food additives. Reported symptoms range from urticaria/angioedema to hyperactive behaviours. While parents/carers report that over one fifth of children experience of food reaction, only 1 in 20 of these are confirmed to have a non-allergic food hypersensitivity on testing.