Paradoxically, this level of worry could actually lead to restaurants not taking genuine allergies seriously, reports http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11652899/Parents-falling-for-allergy-myths.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">The Telegraph, which also said that admissions to hospital for anaphyaxis - a dangerous and sometimes fatal allergic reaction - had risen by 615% in the last 10 years, mainly driven by people's "cynicism about food allergies".
The study, from Sense About Science, the British Society for Immunology and charities including Allergy UK and Asthma UK, found that 40% of people claimed to have a food allergy, compared with just 5% who actually did suffer, reports The Telegraph.
Allergens and allergies have been high on the agenda within hospitality in recent months thanks to a new regulation from the EU, which came into force in December 2014. It stated that all restaurants and public food providers need to be fully aware of 14 different allergens within all food and drink, and make this information available to customers - either obviously on labels, or readily accessible on request.
The report also said that the numbers of people reporting allergies was higher in affluent areas compared with less privileged towns, citing Dulwich in south London as far more likely to report issues versus the relatively less wealthy town of Macclesfield, Cheshire. This had even led to some parents cutting out entire food groups for their children, leaving them at risk of malnutrition, it said.
Over 21 million people in the UK are said to suffer allergies, but that figure is largely based on self-reporting. The report suggested that the actual figure was much lower.
Allergic reaction - is hospitality up to speed? >>
Chefs with food allergies - how do they cope in the kitchen? >>
Restaurants and caterers urged to prepare for changes to food allergy labelling legislation >>
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