Indian foods, with all the diversity and rich taste, have also started posing a small, but growing problem of causing allergy to some consumers.

Similarly, the growing exports of Indian food products have necessitated the demand for more data to consumers.

In the light of these developments, experts at the World Allergy Conference have suggested a policy on labeling food products, which give important data on ingredients both for exports and domestic consumption, and allergen-specific tests for Indian foods.

World allergy conference

The rising prevalence of life-threatening allergies like food allergies, drug allergies and more complex forms of allergic diseases is a cause for serious concern, said the experts, who participated at the World Allergy Organisation’s international Scientific Conference (WISC 2012), held for the first time in India at Hyderabad.

While stressing the need for better testing, the four-day conference which concluded on Sunday, also called for additional training of pediatricians, allergists and other clinicians to help combat the impact of this growing health problem.

Major health problems caused by allergy are asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic skin diseases.

The world allergy body also presented a White Book on Allergies – an advocacy document that offers high-level recommendations towards creating awareness and managing the growing public health burden in many countries.

Allergic diseases, asthma

Allergic diseases and asthma, like other non-communicable diseases, are escalating to epidemic proportions worldwide and up to 30-40 per cent of the world’s population are now affected by some form of allergy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 300 million individuals have asthma worldwide, a figure that could increase to 400 million by 2025 if the trends continue.

somasekhar.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 10, 2012)
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