The rising rate of food allergies takes center stage in the episode “The Peanut Problem,” in the new Netflix six-part documentary series, Rotten, which critically examines the food industry. Whether or not you have food allergies or know someone with food allergies, overall the series is a must-see for anyone who cares about the food on your plate or in your kids’ lunch.
An underlying theme emphasized in episode two, “The Peanut Problem,” is frankly, we all have a “duty to care.” Renowned chefs Ming Tsai, owner of Blue Dragon (Boston, Mass.), and Sam Mason, (Brooklyn, NY) share behind-the-scenes perspectives on the restaurant industry challenges and how they accommodate diners with food allergies. A global issue, the episode gives an example of legal consequences for a UK restaurant owner who failed to disclose ingredient changes.
The responsibility to care is also explored at the root of the problem – peanuts. Peanuts are considered life-threatening kryptonite to parents like me and allergic kids alike who must manage to avoid peanuts; whether it is ingestion, touch or even airborne. In watching this, you are given a different lens about what the industry and peanut farmers are doing about it.
Overall, there has been exponential growth in the prevalence of food allergies among children, and even adult onset, in the last 20 years. And for reasons still unknown. The segment explores potential answers to the underlying causes of food allergies and the research actively underway to prevent and treat food allergies. Most importantly, it stresses ways to recognize symptoms of a severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and how to quickly treat a reaction with epinephrine, through the use of an epi-pen.
Ruchi Gupta, MD, pediatrician and researcher, is among the featured medical experts who give insights into the medical condition, research and her firsthand experience. As she reflects on being a food allergy mom herself she states, “Until you experience it, you really don’t understand it.”
And this is so true. None of us know what anything is like until we experience it in life. This documentary gives a snapshot to help others understand and hopefully gain a “duty to care.”
If you live in the Chicago area, a screening event that features Dr. Gupta and supporting event sponsors, will take place at Chicago’s Davis Theater on Thurs., Jan. 11, at 6:30 p.m. Click here to register. Check out episode two and the series on Netflix.