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Intolerance to food additives – does it exist?

Authors

  • Paul J Turner,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Allergy and Immunology, The Children's Hospital at Westmead and University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Andrew S Kemp

    1. Department of Allergy and Immunology, The Children's Hospital at Westmead and University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Dr Paul Turner, Department of Allergy and Immunology, The Children's Hospital at Westmead and University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia. Fax: +61 29845 3421; email: pault1@chw.edu.au

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.

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