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Another Person's PoisonA History of Food Allergy$
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Matthew Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164849

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164849.001.0001

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Panic? Or the Pantry?

Panic? Or the Pantry?

(p.97) Four Panic? Or the Pantry?
Another Person's Poison

Matthew Smith

Columbia University Press

During the postwar period, disputes about food allergy were framed on competing ideologies, one rooted in the emerging environmental movement and concerns about processed foods and food chemicals, and the other centered on the mid-twentieth-century fascination with psychosomatic medicine and Freudian psychoanalysis. In order to understand the impact of both of these models of allergic disease, this chapter concentrates on how the relationship between mental illness and food allergy was variously depicted by food allergists and psychoanalytically oriented allergists. The resulting divisions split the allergy community and, indeed, led many food allergists to abandon both the field—and the concept—of allergy altogether and turn instead to a new discipline: clinical ecology.

Keywords:   food allergy, allergies, food allergists, postwar period, psychosomatic medicine, psychoanalysis, food chemicals, processed foods, mental illness, clinical ecology

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