Officials: ‘Food allergy epidemic’ not slowing down


XENIA — Greene County Public Health officials join other advocates across the country to “Shine a Light” on food allergies this week.

Common foods that are safe for most people can put individuals with food allergies at risk for serious, even life-threatening reactions, GCPH officials said in a release. A food allergy is a life-altering and potentially life-threatening medical condition.

Anaphylactic reactions to food have climbed at a dramatic pace — nearly 400 percent in 10-year period, according to the healthcare transparency nonprofit FAIR Health. Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the prevalence of food allergy in children increased by 50 percent between 1997-1999 and 2009-2011.

Food Allergy Awareness Week was created in 1998 by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, now Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

“The food allergy epidemic shows no signs of abating. While FARE continues to fund scientific studies that have the potential to change the landscape of food allergy research, we must change the conversation surrounding food allergy,” said James R. Baker, Jr. M.D., CEO and Chief Medical Officer of FARE. “This means coming together to shine a light on food allergy as a serious public health issue, educate others about how they can help those with food allergies stay safe and advocate on behalf of the food allergy community.”

Throughout the month of May, activities throughout the country will raise awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis. Advocates will give educational presentations to students and school staff, host fundraising events, focus public attention on food allergies through official state and city proclamations, and more. Teal, the official color of food allergy awareness, will feature prominently in awareness efforts.

To learn more about Food Allergy Awareness Week and how to get involved, visit www.foodallergyweek.org.