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Food allergy tests recommended as Halloween nears

Category: Allergy Testing

With about 3 million U.S. children experiencing food allergies, families and health officials around the country are devising methods to afford these kids the same thrills of Halloween trick-or-treating granted to their peers.

Alice Bast, founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awarness (NFCA), suggests that parents find new snacks, check food packing labels and concentrate on the foods their children can eat on Halloween, ABC news reports. The NFCA is a nonprofit organization that promotes food allergy testing and seeks to support those with celiac disease - a condition that expresses itself in an allergy to gluten.

The NFCA president recalled the organization's inaugural Halloween event, which featured a skeleton that said "I waited too long for my diagnosis" and a vampire shrieking, "I want to test your blood."

Researchers at the Food and Drug Administration have identified more than 150 foods which can instigate an allergic reaction. The eight most common allergenic foods - which account for 90 percent of food allergies - are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

Offering a final kernel of wisdom, Bast, who has been on a gluten-free diet for 16 years, told the news source, "Don't make it all about the candy, make it about the spirit as well."

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