Corn Commentary

Allergies Nothing to Sneeze At

I noted a recent comment on this blog about a woman named Maureen whose daughter suffers from a corn allergy. According to her, corn “is the 2nd leading allergy and growing numbers of children are being diagnosed with this allergy daily” in the United States.

Since I had never heard of it, that just didn’t seem right to me, so I decided to do some research on it. In fact, I could not find anything that backs up the claim that it is the second leading allergy in the country. According to AllergicChild.com, corn allergies are becoming more common, “yet still aren’t considered to be one of the top 8. The top 8 food allergies are: wheat, dairy, soy, peanut, tree nut, shellfish, fish and egg” which account for 90 percent of food allergies.

On another site, allergies.about.com I read that, “Unlike wheat, which is a common food allergen, there are relatively few reports of allergic reactions to corn.”

Any serious allergies are nothing to sneeze at, and there is evidence that some people do have severe corn allergies – even getting a reaction from corn-based yarn! Many of us probably know someone who has a severe allergy to one or more of the top eight, where just coming in contact with peanut dust, for example, can cause airways to close bringing them close to death. However, peanut allergies have not caused airlines to stop serving them as snacks!

I couldn’t find an estimate of the people who may be affected by corn allergies, but it is believed that six to eight percent of children under the age of three have some type of food allergy and nearly four percent of adults have food allergies. Allergies serious enough to be potentially life-threatening are just a fraction of those percentages.

It seems that Maureen’s daughter is suffering from a relatively rare, but very difficult to control allergy, not unlike people who suffer from Celiac disease and are unable to eat anything with gluten in it. Like people with any allergy, she will have to read the labels on any products she wants to consume or use. But, she can still lead a happy and productive life, despite that.

The fact that corn can be used to make a variety of products is a great thing, especially if it can replace petroleum, such as in plastics, and result in more environmentally-friendly, bio-based products. And that is also nothing to sneeze at.