World Allergy Week 2013

Today marks the last day of World Allergy Week 2013, an annual event sponsored by the World Allergy Organization (WAO) to increase awareness of allergic diseases and asthma. This year’s event focuses on food allergies as a rising global health problem. According to WAO,

  • Food allergies appear to be increasing worldwide, in both developing and developed countries, and especially among children.
  • The severity and complexity of food allergies are changing.
  • With the prevalence of food allergies increasing, food labeling improvements are needed, as well as access to epinephrine.

In an effort to help spread the message of World Allergy Week, here’s some food-allergy related information pertaining to Switzerland and all of Europe.

Food Allergy Prevalence in Switzerland

Back in August 2012, I wrote a brief post about the prevalence of food allergies in Switzerland, Europe and the United States. The aha! Swiss Allergy Center estimates that 2-8 percent of the population in Switzerland has some type of food allergy.

In addition, the WAO’s 2011 White Book on Allergy includes more detailed information on food allergy prevalence worldwide.

Swiss Food Labeling Requirements

According to a recent report published by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), Switzerland’s food labeling requirements are considered a best practice. In October 2012, I wrote a blog post with a quick overview on Swiss food labeling for allergens.

European Data and New Research

For comprehensive information on food allergies in Europe, check out EACCI’s 2013 Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Public Declaration. It provides data on the prevalence of food allergies, their impact and recommendations for tackling food allergies and anaphylaxis.

Furthermore, a new study led by the University of Manchester—billed as the “largest-ever food allergy study”—will examine the potential causes of food allergies and ways to better assist food allergy patients, such as improving food labeling requirements.

Special thanks to the World Allergy Organization for sponsoring this week-long event. Honestly, I wish the need for this event didn’t exist, but I’m grateful that organizations worldwide are working together to address this growing, global health problem.

For more information, check out the list of World Allergy Week 2013 resources.


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