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Open Access Adverse reactions to food additives

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Food additives are naturally occurring or synthetic substances that are added to food to modify the color, taste, texture, stability, or other characteristics of foods. These additives are ubiquitous in the food that we consume on a daily basis and, therefore, have been the subject of much scrutiny about possible reactions. Despite these concerns, the overall prevalence of food additive reactions is 1‐2%, with a minority of the wide variety of symptoms attributed to food-additive exposure being reproduced by double-blind placebo controlled challenges. Reactions can be broadly classified into either immunoglobulin E (IgE)- and non‐IgE-mediated reactions, with natural additives accounting for most IgE-mediated reactions, and both natural and synthetic additives being implicated in the non‐IgE-mediated reactions. Reactions that include asthma exacerbations, urticaria and/or angioedema, or anaphylaxis with ingestion of a food additive are most deserving of further allergy evaluation. In this article, we discussed the different types of adverse reactions that have been described to various food additives. We also reviewed the specifics of how to evaluate and diagnose a food additive allergy in a clinic setting.

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Keywords: ADHD; IgE-mediated; adverse reaction; allergy; atopic; food additive; hypersensitivity; immunologic; non-immunologic

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2021

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