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  • Jim Hinds

A seedy business

I recently saw a man in clinic with an allergic reaction. He had eaten many different foods prior to the reaction and it was not clear what had caused it. His allergy skin test was positive to sesame seed but this could be a false positive ( many tests are positive but people tolerate the food fine-i.e they are not allergic). He told me he could eat sesame seeds as he had eaten them on loaves of bread and baps quite recently. Fortunately I advised him not to eat seeds until we had investigated this further. A few days later I paid a visit to the bread section of a local major supermarket and looked at the various loaves and baps. Of four 'seeded' products only one contained sesame seeds. The others contained various combinations of linseeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and millet seeds. It is very possible to be allergic to just one type of seed and sesame is the most likely to cause serious allergic reactions. This underlines the importance of not making assumptions when considering seed allergy. And one loaf I picked up thinking it was covered in seeds was actually covered in wheat flakes! And my eye sight is not too bad!

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