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The Soy and Legume Section

Statistics: Soy and Legume Allergies

dv1954038Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Soy allergy is one of the more common allergies in North America, and is on the priority allergen list for both Canada and the United States. However, it’s unclear exactly how many people suffer from the allergy.

Peanuts are the most common legume that people will react to, and about 5 per cent of peanut allergic people will react to other legumes, such as beans, peas chickpeas and lentil.

In general, food allergy is on the rise in North America and other developed countries. In Canada, an estimated 7.5 per cent of people have food allergies, representing more than 2.5 million people. In the United States it’s estimated that 12 million Americans (or just under 4 per cent of the population) have food allergies.

A major study in the United States recently found that cases of peanut allergy in children more than tripled in a decade, and that more than 3 million Americans now have a peanut or nut allergy.

Here are the rates of some of the major allergens in Canada and the U.S.

CANADA

Allergen Children Adults All
Peanut 1.68 % 0.71 % 0.93 %
Tree Nut 1.59 % 1 % 1.14 %
Shellfish 0.5 % 1.69 % 1.42 %
Fish 0.18 % 0.56 % 0.48 %
Sesame 0.23 % 0.05 % 0.09

Source: Surveying Canadians to Assess the Prevalence of Common Food Allergies and Attitudes towards Food LAbelling and Risk (SCAAALAR) study. Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, June 2010.

UNITED STATES

Allergen Children
Peanut 1.4%
Tree Nut 1.1%
Sesame 0.1%

Peanut, Tree Nut or both:
Children -  2.1 %
Adults – 1.3 %

Source: US prevalence of self-reported peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergy: 11-year follow-up. Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, June 2010.

Milk and egg allergy are both common in children. In the United States, 2.5 per cent of children under the age of 3 have a milk allergy. Egg allergy affects 1.5 to 3.2 per cent of children.

The good news is many children outgrow their allergies to milk and egg.

Source: AAAAI

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Allergic Living acknowledges the assistance of the OMDC Magazine Fund, an initative of the Ontario Media Development Cooperation.