Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

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In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mustard Allergy?

I've never heard of mustard allergy. I bet you never have either. Neither had Carol Evans.

Carol Evans knew her daughter had a peanut allergy. When Emily was 10 months old, she developed hives after touching peanut butter. What the mother of three never expected was that her youngest was also deathly allergic to mustard. Like many Americans, Evans never heard of a mustard allergy. That was until Emily almost died.

The story at the Boston Globe site by John Guilfoil gives some background information.
"Mustard allergy is just as dangerous as any food allergy," said Dr. Michael Young, assistant professor at Harvard Medical school who specializes in food allergy. "Mustard, peanut, egg -- these are all allergies that have to be carefully managed."


Mustard allergy is a growing concern in Europe. A 2003 article in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology claimed mustard was the fourth most prevalent food allergen in children, behind eggs, peanuts, and milk. Exposure can lead to anaphylaxis; the best "treatment" is to avoid mustard altogether.

Since 2005, European countries have required manufacturers to clearly label foods that contain mustard, according to the British Food Standards Agency website. No such requirement exists in the United States.

"The FDA makes the [labeling] decision, and they've chosen to label the eight most common food allergies: milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, nuts, fish, and shellfish," Young said. "I think it's a shame... but they feel they have to draw the line somewhere."

The only way the FDA will change the labeling is if enough people make it known to them that the lack of information is a problem. You can also contact your representatives in Congress - by mail is best - to alert them to issues.

You can find out the current state of the laws and issues concerning allergens and foods at the FDA's Information about Food Allergens page.

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1 comment:

Carol said...

I am so happy that I just saw your Web site! Thank-you for taking time and effort to post quotes from the article The Boston Globe did about my daughter and I in 2007. It is a difficult problem to have food allergies for any child, parent, or individual but to have one that is deadly and acknowledged by so many other countries and not are own is really baffling! Thank-you again for addressing the issue. I will continue to contact Congress. I have tried but I don't know exactly who would be the best contact re mustard allergy labeling. It seems to get passed around when I have called. Perhaps a letter in the mail would be best as you say. If any parents want to contact me I would be more than happy to do so.

Without the label of mustard and the public being informed cohesively it is difficult to safely deal with the mustard allergy. If 25+ EU countries are labeling and now Canada as well it would seem rational that we would be next. Also we learned of a new allergy in addition to the peanut and mustard a few days ago by our allergist . It is an allergy closely related to the mustard , rapeseed(Canola). This is a difficulty although we will completely avoid the Canola oil by checking labels.The mustard in all fairness is the one I worry about as it is so prevalent and not monitored in the least. Wish you lots of good luck and best of health.