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Joint statement of the European Society for Paediatric Allergology and Clinical Immunology (ESPACI) Committee on Hypoallergenic Formulas and the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Committee on Nutrition
For more than 50 years, many children with food protein allergies and other forms of dietary protein intolerance have been treated successfully with protein hydrolysates with highly reduced allergenicity and, more recently, also with products based on amino acid mixtures. Strategies for the prevention of allergy have been proposed, including the use of products with extensively reduced allergenicity. Products designed to have a moderately reduced allergenicity have also been proposed and marketed in Europe as hypoallergenic formulas. The European Society for Paediatric Allergology and Clinical Immunology (ESPACI) and the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) have commented previously on these issues,1 2 and the Commission of the European Union has issued a regulation for the requirements of infant formulas with reduced allergenicity or reduced antigenicity.3
This paper comments on the current developments and unresolved issues in the dietary treatment and prevention of food allergy in infancy to help inform paediatricians and other health care professionals, as well as manufacturers of infant foods.
Adverse reactions to foods
Adverse reactions to foods are a problem, particularly in infancy and early childhood, and can present with a wide spectrum of clinical reactions such as cutaneous, gastrointestinal, respiratory, or other symptoms. Reproducible adverse reactions to food(s) can be the result of one or more immune mechanism(s) or they can be non-immunologically mediated. Immunologically mediated reactions, which are often immediate IgE mediated reactions, are defined as food protein allergy. Non-immunologically mediated reactions can be divided into enzymatic or transport defects (for example, lactase deficiency, or glucose/galactose malabsorption), pharmacological or other (undefined) reactions.2 4 The pattern and threshold of adverse reactions to foods varies. None of the symptoms related to immunologically or non- immunologically mediated adverse reactions to foods are pathognomonic, and no single laboratory test is diagnostic of food allergy. Therefore, the diagnosis …
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