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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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The Problem with Peanuts

The Problem with Peanuts

(p.153) Six The Problem with Peanuts
Another Person's Poison

Matthew Smith

Columbia University Press

This chapter highlights the role of the peanut in making food allergy respectable. More than any other food allergen, peanuts became synonymous with food allergy and the subject of grassroots activism, voluntary industry action, legislation, and extensive media coverage. Unlike other developments in the history of food allergy—which were dominated by ideological debates among physicians, the clinical challenges of diagnosis and treatment, and the politics and economics of allergy—patients and parents were instrumental in putting the spotlight on peanut allergy by raising awareness, monitoring for peanut contamination, lobbying for better labels, and raising funds for research. Allergy associations and the food industry were also able to harness public concern about and interest in peanut allergy in order to shape understandings of food allergy in ways that were in their own interests.

Keywords:   food allergy, peanut allergy, anaphylactic allergy, allergies, food allergen

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