In 2019 we’ve seen announcements of promising change in labelling legislation, as well as increasing concern over medicine shortages and rising allergy figures.
This year the Anaphylaxis Campaign also celebrated its 25th Anniversary but we are always striving for new ways to help those living with severe allergies. Before heading into 2020, we’ve looked back over the past year on some of the developments that have affected those we support, and what we’ve been doing to make a difference.
At the start of 2019, the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs opened a consultation on proposed amendments to UK food labelling legislation. This review followed the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a baguette from Pret a Manger at Heathrow airport in July 2016.
Following a board meeting by the Food Standards Agency, the adoption of full ingredient list labelling, with allergens emphasised on products pre-packed for direct sale on the same premise they are sold was recommended. The Government announced this new legislation, known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, come into effect in October 2021 to allow a transition period for businesses.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign welcomes this new law and praises the fantastic work that Natasha’s parents, Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse have done to raise issues around food safety.
We were also pleased to see such great engagement from our individual and corporate members during this process.
See our full response to the new legislation on our website.
Device shortages and recalls
Throughout the year we have been made aware of ongoing supply issues with certain brands of auto-adrenaline injectors (AAIs) in the UK, as well as actions taken to mitigate this problem. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) also recently sent out an alert regarding some Emerade devices failing to activate. Please read more about this here.
We are in contact with the pharmaceutical companies and MHRA so that we have the latest information on these issues and continue to highlight the concerns of those who have been prescribed these devices.
See all the most recent statements regarding the adrenaline auto-injector situation here.
Allergies on the rise
Latest figures from NHS Digital have shown that hospital admissions for anaphylactic shock have risen by around 70% in the past five years for under 18s and from 3,092 to 3,751 for adults in the same five-year period.
There is no single cause for the rising prevalence of allergy but numerous possible reasons are under debate including: Heredity, Eating habits, Early exposure to allergens, Modern medicines, e.g. antibiotics, and Vitamin D deficiency and other dietary factors.
Chief Executive of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, Lynne Regent, said:
‘It is worrying for us to hear that the number of admissions to hospital for anaphylaxis has risen. These figures show the importance of continuing to raise awareness of severe allergies. Our aim is to create a safe environment for all people with allergies by working with and educating those in schools, universities, the food industry, health care professionals and other key audiences.’
Anaphylaxis Awareness Week
With a rising prevalence of allergies and recent high-profile cases, it is important to educate those who may not know what anaphylaxis is.
As part of our 25th Anniversary we introduced our first Anaphylaxis Awareness Week from Monday 6 – Sunday 12 May 2019 with the aim of raising the profile of anaphylaxis so that people living with allergies are understood and supported.
During the week we encouraged as many people as possible to raise awareness of our charity and raise funds for our ongoing work. The event was a massive success and we had a huge number of supporters take part in challenges, such as the London Marathon and climbing Snowdon.
Plans are already underway for next year’s Anaphylaxis Awareness Week to be held Monday 4 – Sunday 10 May 2020.
Continued support and awareness
As well as our wider scale events, we continue to reach out to people on a local level, which includes our volunteer led support groups, held in towns and cities across the UK. This year there were 50 support groups held and we welcomed four new groups: West Byfleet, Devon, Hertfordshire and Bradford.
We would like to thank all our incredible volunteers and supporters for everything they have helped us achieve in 2019. We’ve been celebrating some of these fantastic efforts in our Christmas social media appeal which you can view on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels throughout December.
If you have an allergy or care for someone who does or if you work in education, healthcare or the food industry and need information or support on allergies, you contact our helpline team by calling 01252 542029 or email [email protected].