Pediatric Allergy and Respiratory Disease (소아알레르기 호흡기학회지)
PURPOSE: A life threatening systemic anaphylaxis can be caused by a food allergy, and the complete avoidance of all foods containing problematic allergens is the only way to manage food allergies. To prevent unexpected exposure to causative foods, food labeling systems have developed and are used in Korea. This study was conducted to evaluate the consumer's use and satisfaction of food labels, and to make recommendations for improving food labels. METHODS: A total of 962 subjects from 7 university hospitals, 130 adults had adverse food reactions (adult-AFR), 177 parents of children/adolescents that had AFR (parent-AFR), and 655 adults did not have AFR or no family history of AFR (no-AFR), were enrolled. We evaluated the use and satisfaction of food labels using a questionnaire. RESULTS: Only 25.4% of adult-AFR and 49.7% of parent-AFR, read food labels. Over 73% of the subjects were not satisfied with current labeling system, and the information was thought to be difficult to find or read, incorrect or insufficient, and required more information. The major suspected causes of AFR in adults were peach, egg, milk, mackerel, peanut/tree nuts, crab, shrimp and milk, peach, shrimp, pork and peanut/tree nuts in children/adolescent. Among the 12 foods enrolled in Korean allergic food labeling system, from the consumer's aspects, the most important items were egg, milk, peanut, mackerel and pork. CONCLUSION: The consumer's use and satisfaction of allergic food labels was very low. Thus, we need to improve consumer's accessibility and develop an education and information system for food labels.