I teach music in a public elementary school in the greater metropolitan Portland area. Because I teach music, I have contact with all the kids in the school. Every year I get a stack of health documents from the school nurse alerting me to student health problems – heart defects, diabetes, things of that nature – but by far, the biggest stack comes with reports of food allergies. Even since I began teaching a few decades ago, the number of kids who have life threatening food allergies has sky-rocketed to the point where it is shocking. When I attended elementary school, I don’t even remember knowing what a food allergy was. Everybody ate everything.
The above paragraph is, to be sure, anecdotal evidence about the rise in food allergies among children. But here is an article that has hard facts about it, and some pretty good statistics as well. The very reliable Robyn O’Brien of Prevention/Inspired Bites has written For the Allergic, Food Proteins are Bullets.
In it she writes: Common popular foods in the United States contain new proteins and synthetic chemicals that have never before existed in our food supply. Are we allergic to these new ingredients? The answer is: we simply do not know. No long-term studies have been done. No prenatal studies have been done, and no studies have been done on children to know if a child is allergic to soy that has been around for thousands of years or to the proteins now found in genetically engineered soy, introduced into our food supply in 1996. Is a woman with a corn allergy allergic to the corn that our grandfathers ate? Or is she allergic to the new proteins now found in genetically engineered corn that now calls for it to be classified as a pesticide by the EPA? Read full article.