Tag Archives: research

Episode Two of new Netflix docu-series, Rotten, investigates food allergies

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.  


Food allergies, an emerging epidemic to be featured in Discovery Channel documentary

Avoiding certain foods to stay alive may sound extreme to some, but it has become a way of life for us.When my daughter was first diagnosed with food allergies and anaphylaxis near the age of two, she became a grown up.  Learning to tell others what she can’t eat, the foods to avoid, reading labels and understanding the importance of a lifesaving epipen, all seem way too much for a child to have to handle.  But we’ve handled managing food allergies for six years. This way of life is growing to become the norm for many families and individuals.

Set your DVR or watch The Discovery Channel’s new documentary: “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America” on Saturday, September 7 or September 21 at 8 a.m. ET/PT and learn how a growing rate of individuals, especially children, are managing food allergies and research advances underway.

Here is a sneak peek: 

An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America preview from Discovery Channel CME on Vimeo.

Food Allergy and Research Education (FARE) worked with the Discovery Channel to produce the hour-long documentary, which is narrated by actor Steve Carell and features individuals managing food allergies, leading food allergy experts and highlights research progress for treatments.

Food allergies affect everyone

Without a known reason for cause or a cure, food allergies have changed the way we all live.  It has spurned research and changes in regulation, policy and operations across industries and settings. Among the many include the food, restaurant, and hospitality industries; and school settings to keep food allergic individuals protected and safe.

Every one of 13 children, about two kids in every classroom, is allergic to any of the common eight allergens: nuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, eggs, and soy, according to FARE. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in May 2013 citing a rise with food and skin allergies among children. Between 1997 and 1999, food allergies affected about 3.4 percent of American children. By 2009 to 2011, that number rose to 5.1 percent.

Chances are you know someone who has a food allergy and that social circle of food allergic friends continues to grow through childhood, and even adulthood. Now it seems more of my friends are facing adult onset food allergies. But, it’s still a journey to get others to understand managing food allergies and taking food avoidance practices seriously. Tune in and join me on this journey to better understand how food allergies affect all of us. Stop an #EmergingEpidemic.