Measures to protect children with nut allergies are becoming increasingly absurd and hysterical, say experts.
A peanut on the floor of a US school bus recently led to evacuation and decontamination for fear it might have affected the 10-year-old passengers.
Such extreme steps to reduce exposure to nuts are not isolated and are fueling fear and anxiety, reports the British Medical Journal Online.
A UK allergy expert said a similar “epidemic” was present in Britain.
Professor Nicolas Christakis, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School, told the BMJ there was “a gross over-reaction to the magnitude of the threat” posed by food allergies, and particularly nut allergies.
In the US, serious allergic reactions to foods cause just 2,000 of more than 30 million hospitalisations a year and comparatively few deaths – 150 a year from all food allergies combined. In the UK there are around 10 deaths each year from food allergies.
Professor Christakis said the issue was not whether nut allergies existed or whether they could occasionally be serious. Nor was the issue whether reasonable preventative steps should be made for the few children who had documented serious allergies, he argued. “The issue is what accounts for the extreme responses to nut allergies.”
Read more at BBC News