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, allergen labelling, veganism / vegetarianism, gut disorders such as IBS, and other hypersensitivities.

To navigate, use the drop-down menu above or see below for recent additions / blog posts.


Gluten-free oats are a ‘top 14’ allergen, because all oats are allergens. It’s that simple, and yet the assumption that GF oats are somehow exempt from being considered an allergen is one of the most common errors made by free from brands. Read more here.



A study on food allergen recalls in the UK has shown that milk is involved in almost half of cases, and the reasons for recalls vary considerably, from omission of the allergen on ingredients, through to erroneous free from claims. Check out some of the findings here.



Nickel allergy is a severe problem, with around 1 in 6 women affected. Due to contamination of raw ingredients, nickel is often found in trace levels in cosmetics, including hair dyes and colours. Here is a round-up of products which may be safer.



Trehalose intolerance is one of the more unusual food hypersensitivities and there’s very little published information available about it. It’s caused by a rare deficiency in a particular enzyme. This article looks at what we know about it.



How well do you know your botanical (and other) food families? If you have immune-mediated allergies to particular foods, it’s possible that you may also react to foods closely related to them. Click here to learn more about them.



There a lot on this site, and on the Skins Matter site, which I edit, related to food allergies and toiletries, especially on labelling. Following the announcements of Free From Skincare Awards 2022 winners, we round-up some of the key articles. Click here.



At last, an article on Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic metabolic condition, which severely limits the diet, and has severe consequences when adherence is not strict. Could you cope without your favourite sources of protein? PKU folk have to …



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!



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.



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.



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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