Author(s): MoneretVautrin DA, Kanny G, Morisset M, Ranc F, Fardeau MF
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of food allergies increases, relating to diet modifications. The consumption of new foods--exotic foods or foods originally used for animal feed, new proteins, neo allergens due to the use of new technologies and soon, Genetically Modified Foods--are in the spotlight.
OBJECTIVE: It is essential to develop a system of food allergy vigilance encompassing the full range of foods being consumed. Understanding this imperative leads logically to the suggestion of developing an allergy vigilance network taking advantage of the ongoing experience of allergists "on the ground".
METHODS: The French Allergy Vigilance Network is subscribed to by 302 allergologists (267 of whom are French). The aims of the Network are to record cases of severe anaphylaxis, to establish an epidemiological data bank from prospective multicenter studies, and to monitor the allergic risk from novel foods.
RESULTS: In 2002, 107 cases of severe anaphylaxis were recorded: anaphylactic shock--59.8% (one fatal), systemic reaction--18.7%, laryngeal angio-edema--15.9%, acute severe asthma--5.6% (one fatal). The main allergens identified were peanuts, nuts, shellfish, lupine flour and wheat flour. Action has been taken as a result: information by industry on inadequate labeling, withdrawal of wrongly labeled batches, and university hospital centers have been encouraged to establish the allergenic safety of their catering services.
CONCLUSION: Setting up such a network in other countries would lead to a significant advance in knowledge of the peculiarities of allergies relating to a wide variety of eating habits.