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    Wednesday, 18 January 2017

    Rise in London Allergic Reactions Linked to Diversified Tastes

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    Londoners are nowadays suffering more allergic reactions than ever before thanks to a general diversification of their dietary choices, reports suggest. Experts at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust, which is highly regarded by the World Allergy Organisation, today described the phenomenon to the Evening Standard as being one which has developed ‘as we all get a little more adventurous in our diets.’

    Dr Adam Fox explained that the number of patients suffering reactions to chick pea, sesame and rare fish seems to be rising. ‘London is a fantastically diverse place,’ he said. ‘People come from all sorts of cultures, and eat all sorts of different foods.’

    Accounting for rising patient numbers, he said that ‘one of the biggest drivers is the increase in food allergy we are seeing — such as peanuts, nuts, eggs and milk.’

    Although a rising allergy rate has not, through scientific study, been found to be directly proportional to increased diversification of food tastes, it is generally thought to be a factor in medical circles.

    Still, whatever the cause of the present phenomenon, it seems not only to affect those habituated to traditional British cuisine who are trying new things, but also those for whom the opposite is the case.

    According to the Standard, ‘The trust’s allergy service treated 784 patients admitted to hospital last year. Across the NHS the number of admissions for allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock is up by more than a third in the past five years to 29,544 cases in 2015/16.’

    Economists might be inclined to think the news reflects greater financial prosperity in London: after all, it tends to be that people become more adventurous in their consumption habits as they become wealthier. Indeed, some claim that every region in the UK is now more prosperous than it was a year ago. Still, if that is the case, we should also perhaps mention that inequality also endures in the capital.

    Still, if the latest announcement is anything to go by, social cohesion between London’s various food cultures, at least, seems to be quite healthy.


    It’s a happy-sad story, then, in some respects. On the one hand, Londoners seem to be increasingly open-minded when it comes to food; but, on the other, it’s also occasionally making them ill. 


    James Stannard

    James has a Bachelor’s degree in History and wrote his dissertation on beef and protest. His heroes list ranges from Adele to Noam Chomsky: inspirations he’ll be invoking next year when he begins a Master’s degree in London. 
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