Europe’s market leader in intolerance testing says food intolerances are “very real” in response to chef Raymond Blanc’s comments, saying they are “fashionable”.
Blanc, who runs the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, said “we are a kitchen not a hospital. Of course, now, if you don’t have an allergy, you’re nobody” and that “it’s a very great fashion to have a food intolerance”.
In response to the celebrity chef’s comments, YorkTest Laboratories, which has more than 35 years’ worth of experience in testing for food reactions, has highlighted that it is thought up to 45% of the UK population suffers from intolerances.
Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest, said: “Raymond Blanc’s views on intolerance could make people feel they have to choose between listening to their body and avoiding the food they react to or enjoying a meal out with friends and family.
“Eliminating trigger foods can offer a solution for many people, helping them feel like they are taking back control.”
A recent survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by YorkTest found that nearly one in five (19%) people believe food intolerance and allergies are the same, when in fact they are not.
Dr Hart explained: “Food intolerance and food allergy are often thought to be variations of the same thing but the biological processes behind them, and how they affect you, are very different.
“Food allergy is quite rare, affecting about 2% of the adult population, whilst it is thought that approximately 45% of the population have a food intolerance.
“Unlike allergies, which can potentially be fatal, food intolerance usually involves a delayed biological reaction which, although often uncomfortable and unpleasant, is not life threatening.
“Symptoms of food intolerances are very real. The most common symptoms are digestive, such as IBS, bloating, diarrhoea and stomach pain. But other people may experience migraines, skin problems like acne and eczema, lethargy, fatigue, joint pain and even mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
“Many people are living with food intolerances and their associated symptoms without realising that the food they are eating is the root cause.
“Several high street restaurant chains are offering free from options and some are even partnering with technology platforms to make it easier for people with intolerances to find out where they can eat out.
“If high street restaurants can cater for diners who have food allergies and intolerances why can’t a Michelin-starred restaurant, such as Raymond Blanc’s, do the same?”
YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction. The company’s information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. YorkTest recommend that individuals discuss any medical concerns they have with a GP before undertaking a YorkTest programme.