Al­ler­gies on the rise thanks, in part, to red vel­vet cakes

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE -

THEY are a favourite of TV cooks Mary Berry and Nigella Law­son, but the pop­u­lar­ity of red vel­vet cup­cakes is fuelling a rise in food al­ler­gies, ac­cord­ing to a top di­eti­cian.

With the food in­dus­try us­ing ground-up South Amer­i­can cochineal bugs for colour, there has been an in­crease in pa­tients di­ag­nosed with al­ler­gies linked to its use.

Dr Is­abel Sky­pala, a con­sul­tant al­lergy di­eti­tian at the Royal Bromp­ton & Hare­field NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, said our di­ets had changed mas­sively since the 1960s.

“Our ex­po­sure to lots of dif­fer­ent foods has also changed,” she said.

“I get faced in my clinic with peo­ple who have gone out to eat and have eaten pizza or been to that new burger place or had red vel­vet cup­cakes.

“That is due to the rise of the red vel­vet cup­cake al­lergy which is all due to cochineal.

“In the 1980s with aware­ness of E num­bers a lot of com­pa­nies started us­ing nat­u­ral food colour­ings which can have pro­teins in them which can cause al­lergy. So now I have the red vel­vet cup­cake al­lergy.”

Dr Sky­pala said there were a lot of po­ten­tial causes of al­lergy in In­dian take­aways and also Miche­lin-starred restau­rants. Red vel­vet cup­cakes use crushed cochineal bugs for their colour­ing

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