Dear AllergyKids’ Friends,
Is Corn Allergy a Growing Threat to Your Child? Corn is one of the fastest growing food allergies in children, though one of the most unrecognized and underreported.
AllergyKids wants to highlight current research on corn, how it may be “hidden” in food and steps that you can take to help protect the health of your family, especially given that corn is often consumed by those with Celiac’s disease or a wheat allergy.
How do I know if my child has a corn allergy?
Many families arrive at the diagnosis of “corn allergy” on accident, initially thinking that their child might be allergic to preservatives or additives found in food when their child is actually reacting to the corn ingredients, corn products or high fructose corn syrup found in many food products.
Corn is considered a “new” food allergy, as corn was never known to have allergy-inducing properties. It is often found in families that consume a diet high in processed foods.
So what has changed?
According to an April 2007 report from the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, corn was recently engineered to create its own insecticide. This report states that in 2005 this corn “was modified to produce in its cells a new artificial insecticidal and modified toxin.”
How much of our corn is modified? Corn is one of the fastest growing modified crops. Not only is corn used in our food supply but it is also used for ethanol, an alternative fuel. It is estimated that almost 70% of our corn is now modified. What products contain this corn?
Modified corn is often found in pre-packaged and processed foods and pet food products, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and other corn product ingredients.
Modified corn is also used as animal feed for chickens, pork and other animals, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. Of note, children that are allergic to corn are often also allergic to meat from animals fed a corn-feed diet (chicken, pork, etc.).
Additionally, high fructose corn syrup represents almost 50% of the ingredients found in infant formula in the United States. However, high fructose corn syrup is not widely used as an ingredient in food and beverages in Europe, Australia and other developed countries.
Why is corn modified? Due to growing concerns by farmers over the health and environmental implications of spraying pesticides and insecticides onto corn crops, scientists genetically engineered these toxins into the crops in order to to address the increased global demand for food by preventing crop loss due to insects, rodents and other pests. Should I be concerned?
According to Reuters Health and research from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina, exposure to agricultural pesticides in the first-trimester of pregnancy increases a woman’s risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy.
Another study by scientists at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in New York found a link between impaired fetal growth and pesticide use in New York apartments, according to Business Week.
Although we are not a medical organization, AllergyKids’ concern is that the gastrointestinal tract is a prominent part of our immune system and that no human trials have been conducted to assess the long term impact of consuming foods derived from crops whose proteins have been engineered with insecticidal toxins.
Why haven’t I heard this before?
As one of the first independently funded food allergy organizations, AllergyKids is in a unique position to work with leading researchers and scientists across the food and agricultural industries (both conventional and organic) in order to highlight the most current global research.
Our goal is to give you the tools to help protect your family.
Why is independent research important?
A recent study from the Children’s Hospital Boston highlighted in the New York Times reveals that food/beverage industry research funded by food/beverage industry groups tends to favor those industries.
According to Rescuing Science from Politics: Regulation and the Distortion of Scientific Research, a book written by leading law professors and reviewed by a former FDA director, "special interests can abuse the law to intrude on the way that scientists conduct research."
At AllergyKids, our sole interest is in protecting the health and well-bring of children. In reviewing all scientific research, we always consider funding ties and any financial relationship that may exist between the funding organization and the researchers.
What else can I do?
At AllergyKids, we are continually inspired by what we have learned from the mothers and fathers of the millions of children with food allergies. You are caregivers, accountants, lawyers, nurses, entrepreneurs, business owners, authors, pediatricians and journalists. You are the voices for our children, and we invite you to be part of the cure. You can contact the USDA at 202.720.3252 to learn more about these toxins in your family’s food.
And although the FDA has been busy with the recent peanut butter and pet food recalls, they are currently focused on genetically engineered foods, specifically addressing the pending approval of rice engineered with human genes and of cloned of animals for human consumption. Should you wish to contact the FDA to report any unusual allergic reactions that your child may have experienced, you can reach the FDA at 1.800.FDA.4010.
How can I avoid these toxins in my family’s diet?
If you are interested in trying to avoid these modified foods in your family’s diet, you can reduce the amount of processed foods that your family consumes.
We have also learned that according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), for a product to be labeled "USDA Organic," it can not contain these genetically modified toxins and ingredients. For a product labeled "USDA Organic," it can not contain "GMOs". Our Goal: To Learn the "Complex Truth" about Food Allergies
According to Alexis de Tocqueville, a political thinker and historian, "It is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth." At AllergyKids, we choose to work on behalf of these children, not because it is easy, but because it is hard and because our children deserve the "complex truth."
This famous thinker also said that "life is to be entered upon with courage." In no way is this more apparent than in the lives of these children and the millions of families dealing with food allergies.
As we continue to work with global organizations, we are grateful for the leading efforts of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and their recent Allergy Alert on Undeclared Allergens in Pre-Packaged Food Products as it highlights the topic of one of our recent newsletters, “Allergen Labeling Alert,” and the critical role that these voluntary labels play in the health of our children.
As always, we are extremely grateful for your continued support as it enables us to work on behalf of the millions of children with food allergies and their families.
If we can ever answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at www.allergykids.com or 1.800.671.1525.
Please forward this email to others who are looking to protect the health and well-being of their families.
With hope for the cure,
Mother of Four
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