Food Allergy Statistics That May Surprise You
Food trends come and go, whether it’s the latest diet fad or a nationwide push to reduce meat, dairy and/or gluten consumption. One thing that will never change, however, is the presence of food allergies and the fact that many people (young and old) suffer from them.
In fact, more people struggle with food allergens than you might think. Let’s go over several statistics that not only show why it’s important to take food allergy concerns into account, but also show the benefits of a food handler certification.
32 Million Americans Have Food Allergies
Researchers from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) “estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. That’s one in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom.” So, food allergies are more prevalent than one might think. Furthermore, about 40 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
Food Allergies Are One of the Most Common Health Issues Affecting Children
“Each year in the U.S., it is estimated that anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to food results in 90,000 emergency room visits,” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, (AAFA). It should also be noted that there are a few treatments for food allergies (e.g. epinephrine) and many allergic reactions require immediate treatment.
Children with Food Allergies Are 2-4x More Likely To Have Other Issues
Food allergies don’t tend to affect just the food a person eats. With children, in particular, they are way more prone to asthma and other allergic diseases than their counterparts without food allergen issues, according to Kids With Food Allergies. Many of these allergies can’t be “outgrown,” either.
Nine Food Allergy Types Are Most Prevalent
There’s a list of common culprits when it comes to foods that cause the most allergy issues among the population. According to FARE, these include the following (with the estimated number of Americans of all ages who suffer convincing symptoms from them):
- “Shellfish: 8.2 million
- Milk: 6.1 million
- Peanut: 6.1 million
- Tree nuts: 3.9 million
- Egg: 2.6 million
- Fin fish: 2.6 million
- Wheat: 2.4 million
- Soy: 1.9 million
- Sesame: 0.7 million”
Food Allergies Cost About $25 Billion Each Year
Studies have shown the economic effect of childhood food allergies in the United States as well. According to a report from JAMA Pediatrics, “Caregivers of children with food allergies were asked to quantify the direct medical, out-of-pocket, lost labor productivity, and related opportunity costs… The overall economic cost of food allergy was estimated at $24.8 (95% CI, $20.6-$29.4) billion annually ($4184 per year per child).”
There is no Cure for Food Allergies
As of now, there is no cure for food allergy, according to FARE. They can only be managed by avoiding problematic foods, learning how to identify reactions/symptoms and better understanding them through clinical trials and research. A food handlers course is therefore invaluable for anyone who serves, prepares, transports or otherwise handles food.
If you’d like to start your state-approved online training course for a food handlers certificate from American Course Academy, enroll today!