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If You (or Your Children) Suffer from Food Allergies, is Your Day Care, School or Employer Taking Steps to Protect You?

January 28, 2020

The New Facts and Cause for Alarm

The rate at which children are experiencing food allergies is on the rise. In a recent article published by the BBC, it was noted that food allergies in children have climbed in recent decades. With this dramatic increase in allergies, everyone – from parents to school teachers to business operators – must be intimately aware of the liability minefield that can result from a serious allergic reaction.

The most common foods that children are allergic to include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.), sesame, fish, and shellfish. Even a trace amount of the food can prompt a life-threatening reaction, which causes families with children that have allergies to constantly live in fear that their child may have a reaction.

Industrialized nations have seen the greatest increase over the past 30 years, and the rate of the increase depends largely on the food. For example, the number of children allergic to peanuts increased five times in the U.K. from 1995 to 2016.

At this point, it is unknown what the cause of the increase in allergies is, but some factors include pollution, dietary changes, and improved hygiene. Although it may seem counterintuitive, one theory is that improved hygiene has led to children getting less infections, so the immune system is not as prepared to battle allergies. Another possible explanation for the increase is that we do not get as much vitamin D as we used to, mainly because we are not spending as much time in the sun.

What You Need to Do Now?

Food manufacturers, day cares and schools, and even employers need to be taking the necessary precautions to ensure that individuals with allergies are properly accommodated so that they do not suffer negative reactions. In a recent case, a Detroit woman received a $10 million verdict because her employer failed to accommodate her perfume allergy.

If you or a loved one has any questions about the increase in food allergies and protections you should be afforded, as well as any other consumer safety issues, please contact Graham Bickel (GBickel@HRMML.com). He would be happy to speak with you.