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