Welcome to Allergy Insight

Allergy Insight is dedicated to topical issues concerning food allergy, skin and cosmetic allergy, coeliac disease / gluten-related disorders, food intolerance, restricted diets, ‘free from’ food, veganism / vegetarianism, gut disorders such as IBS, and other hypersensitivities.

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My new book is called The Metal Allergy Guide: an (almost) 200-page whopper of a book looking at testing, diagnosis, identifying and reducing exposure, finding safe products and cosmetics, low-metal diets, rare metal allergies, and much more!



Late October / early November signals free from panettone season! Like in 2020, there seem to be fewer gluten free options this year, but quite a few vegan ones. Take a look at all the GF / vegan panettoni here.



The return of the Lunch! Show in 2021 was a welcome event following the Covid-related cancellation of 2020. Always a good day for spotting new ‘free from’ food and drink launches, we went along to see what we could find



Do we need regulatory change in the cosmetics industry, to better help those with food allergy? Ingredients are sometimes only listed by Latin names, and can be easily missed, as in this case of Emelia and her ‘milky’ bath bomb ….



What is Free From Food? In this post, I examine the problems and look at why industry’s failure to come up with a definition may be causing us problems. Which foods should — and should not — be in the supermarket free from aisle?



I’m delighted to announce a new edition of Coeliac Disease: What you need to know, fully updated for 2020. Click here to find out what’s new in the book, including improved sections on oats, barley malt derivatives and food labelling.



Do you have nickel allergy? Do you struggle to find suitable make-up that doesn’t trigger a reaction? Here’s a round-up of cosmetics that are either nickel-tested or likely to be lower in nickel than many other on the market.



Peanut-based products which are free from all tree nuts are required by some people with food allergy — especially children — in order to maintain tolerance. But how easy are such products to find on the market? Read more.



It should be a straightforward process to report non-compliant food allergen labelling to the relevant authorities, but this experience in dealing with some biscuits for sale at Morrisons, bearing American labelling not appropriate to EU laws, proves otherwise …



Fortified plant-based milk alternatives are not always easy to find if you suffer from multiple food allergies, and with the defortification of a popular hemp-based beverage, options have been further reduced. This post looks at the safe options out there.



A brand new book of low-histamine recipes by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson is sure to be welcomed by those with histamine sensitivity. This review takes a look at the tasty dishes on offer, including an incredible stew of beans, cardamom and chestnuts …



New Gluten Labelling Guidance has been published by the Food & Drink Federation, with the aim of achieving ‘greater consistency in how the presence of cereals containing gluten and gluten-free claims are labelled’. Learn more here.



Pine nut is not an allergen in the UK / EU, is an allergen in the US, and is the subject of a lot of confusion, with Pret taking the brunt of a lot of the frustration those with pine nut allergy feel. Here’s the lowdown.



Most chocolate spreads either contain nuts such as hazelnuts, or carry ‘may contain traces of nuts’ warnings, making them unsuitable to those with nut allergy. Here is a round-up of nut-safe spreads, in the UK and in North America too.



Marks and Spencer have finally agreed to change the colour scheme of their gluten-free sandwiches to make it more easily distinguishable from their mainstream sandwiches. Here’s the story of how the change came about.



Self-appointed arbiters of bakery, the Real Bread Campaign, argue popular GF breads aren’t *real* because they contain … additives. Here’s why the Breadstremists’ food snobbery and thoughtless privilege harms coeliacs, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.



The 14 EU-defined food allergens can and do turn up in cosmetic products, and given that they are sometimes described by their Latin names or may be ‘hiding’ behind the name of a derivative, they’re not always easy to spot. This article offers some guidance.



Those who have allergies to multiple ingredients, such as preservatives, fragrances and food allergens, often look for ‘allergy free’ or hypoallergenic beauty products. But what to choose if you have many sensitivities? Here’s a round-up of recommendations.



Gluten-free shampoo? Does anyone really need it? Possibly — yes. But perhaps not for the reasons you may imagine. In this post, I look at Herbal Essences’ advertising of their GF shampoo, and address what’s wrong with it and with their product labelling.



Those with salicylate intolerance or following the Guaifinesin protocol for fibromyalgia often struggle to find salicylate free skincare products that don’t trigger salicylate sensitivity reactions. Here’s a round-up of those available.



The brand of Goody Good Stuff sweets make a gluten-free claim, but also warn that their products ‘may contain traces of wheat’. Is this a problem for those with coeliac disease? As it turns out — no it isn’t. Here’s why.



If you’re susceptible to excess FODMAPs in your diet and have IBS, can digestive enzymes help? Some might be able to, but the evidence for others is modest. Here are some which may be able to ease symptoms.



Many with coeliac are confused by the occasional presence of ‘wheat’ or ‘barley’ on their gluten-free food and drink labels, but there is likely to be an innocent explanation, and it’s all to do with the 14 declarable allergens in the EU. Read more here.



PPD is a potentially dangerous allergen, found in many hair dyes, which can cause extremely serious reactions. This article looks at the problem, and lists some PPD-free hair colour recommendations for you to try.




For more articles / blog posts, click here.

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