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Up to 6% of UK adults might have a food allergy, says report

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.q1122 (Published 23 May 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1122
  1. Jane Feinmann
  1. London

As many as 6% of the UK adult population—around 2.4 million people—might have a clinically confirmed food allergy, most frequently involving nuts and fresh fruits, according to a report from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).1

The report, Patterns and Prevalence of Adult Food Allergy (PAFA), carries the results of the first large study into the prevalence of immune (IgE) mediated food allergies in the adult population in the UK for 30 years. IgE mediated food allergies cause symptoms including hives, redness of the skin, vomiting, and in severe cases anaphylaxis usually within minutes of ingestion.

The FSA funded research follows recognition that the burden of food allergy in the UK adult population is “not well described in the literature.” Earlier estimates of prevalence, largely based on a community survey carried out more than 30 years ago, had claimed that only 1.4% of the …

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