Food Allergy – a Growing Problem?

Judit Krisch and László Salgó

Central Laboratory, Municipal Hospital, Szeged, Hungary

Corresponding author: Judit Krisch
    Central Laboratory
    Municipal Hospital of Szeged
    Kálvária sgt. 57
    H-6725 Szeged, Hungary
    Telephone: Tel.:+36-62-490-590

CEJOEM 2004, Vol.10. No.1.: 30–34

Key words:
Food allergy, GM foods, IgE-mediated, cross reaction

Food allergy is an immune reaction against food proteins. Apart from the best known and most reported IgE-mediated food intolerance, there are some other immunological reactions (T cell-, immune complex-achivated and IgG-mediated reactions) involved in food allergy. The diagnosis is complicated because of the diversity of symptoms. The “gold standard” testing method is the double blind placebo-controlled food challenge which needs clinical supervision for several days and can provoke anaphylactic shock. Using blood tests, hundreds of foodstuffs can be tested for in a single sample. By means of biochemical, immunological, and genetic techniques, more than 200 food allergens have been identified and characterised since 1978. Some of them show cross reactions to other food or inhalant allergens. Food allergies show age-dependent frequency differences. Infants and small children very often have milk and egg white allergy which they grow out later, but fruit, vegetable and nuts allergies associated with pollen hypersensitivity in later childhood and adulthood are permanent. Nowadays there is a need to develop testing strategies for screening the allergenicity of genetically modified foods. On the other hand, genetic methods may be useful tools to reduce the allergic activity of known food antigens.

Received: 19 September 2003
Accepted: 4 December 2003

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