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Adverse Reactions to food Additives in Children: A Retrospective Study …

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A. Lemoine, S. Pauliat-Desbordes, P. Challier, & P. Tounian (2020). Adverse reactions to food additives in children: A retrospective study and a prospective survey. Archives de Pédiatrie, 27(7), 368-371.

Allergic reactions to food additives are often suspected by families. The aim of this study was to describe oral food challenge (OFC) outcomes in a pediatric cohort with a suspected diagnosis of allergy to food additives (food dyes or sodium benzoate).

All patients who underwent an open OFC to carmine red, cochineal red, erythrosine, patent blue V, tartrazine, yellow sunset S, and/or sodium benzoate were included. A survey was sent to families after testing to evaluate whether the OFC results had altered feeding behaviors with food additives.

Twenty-three patients were included. The main suspected food was candy (n = 11/23; 48%). Only one OFC out of 45 was formally positive for the carmine and cochineal red. Subsequently, most OFCs were negative (44/45; 97.8%). Despite the negativity of the challenge, four families out of 14 reported occurrences of supposed allergic reactions to food additives and six out of 15 continued to completely avoid the additive of concern in their children’s diet.

Allergies to food additives remain rare. Even if an IgE-mediated allergy was excluded with a negative OFC, families remained suspicious about ready-made products. Health professionals and parents should be reassured about the low risk of food dye intolerance or allergies.

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