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.


Campaigns to ‘ban’ allergens from the supermarket ‘free from’ aisle are misguided — because many of those with sensitivities need (some) allergens in their diets. Here’s why why we need allergens in free from food.



Sulphites are, to some extent, the ‘forgotten’ top 14 allergen when it comes to food — but the American Contact Dermatitis Society have nominated them as ‘allergens of the year’, indicating their relevance in skin reactions too. Read more.



The issue of nut-based ingredients in cosmetic products continues to cause concern and confusion among members of the nut allergy community. Here’s everything you need to know to keep you or your child safe.



Cobalt allergy is closely associated with its far more commonly known sibling, nickel allergy, but has its own particular quirks. Here’s a post telling you what you need to know about this form of allergic contact dermatitis.



Deficiency in an enzyme called G6PD can lead to a condition called favism, which can cause seriously unpleasant symptoms when broad beans are consumed. This article looks at this unusual and extreme form of food intolerance.



Those with food allergy have a higher rate of coeliac disease, some new research has found, adding to the growing evidence that these two distinct food hypersensitivities can more commonly go hand-in-hand. Find out more here.



Want to write about coeliac, allergy, intolerance or other sensitivities? There are lots of great writers — and other content producers — out there doing sterling work, but we need more, to continue to raise awareness and help those who struggle. Read here for some advice.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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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