Rates of food sensitivity vary by country, hazelnuts are the most common cause

Nations varied in the rate of people who were sensitive to at least one food (via specific IgE) -- ranging from about 25% of those in Portland, Oregon, to just under 8% of those in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Certain foods that people commonly view as potential allergy triggers -- namely, milk, eggs and fish -- were among the least common causes of food sensitivity.

Along with the U.S., Germany, Italy and Norway had the highest prevalence of food sensitivity -- 22%.

The lowest rates were seen in Iceland (11%), Spain (11%), France and the UK (each around 14%).

Hazelnuts, peaches, shrimp, wheat and apples were the most common allergens. At the other end of the spectrum, fish, eggs and cow's milk were the least common causes of sensitivity.

7% of people across the nations had sensitivity to hazelnuts but U.S., Germany, Norway and Sweden had a prevalence of 12-15%. The next most common causes of sensitivity were peaches, shrimp and wheat, which each affected about 5% of people across countries.

"Sensitivity", as defined in this study, does not predict clinical reactivity. Sensitivity is not the same as food allergy.

Rates of food sensitivity vary by country: study. Reuters, 2010.
Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

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