Friday, September 01, 2006

Current Testing for Corn Allergy Unreliable

There is a good article about the unreliability of corn allergy testing methods published by an unbelieable source.

Corn Refiners Association

Their Food Safety Information Papers (PDF) describe very well how inaccurate current testing is in reguards to corn allergy, and even states that not much research has been devoted to corn allergy.

Their point of the article is to claim that corn isn't an allergy risk or at least not a big one for the general population, but I found the article much more pertinent to proving that they don't know enough about it to really make that statement.

"Though allergens in other food systems have been well characterized, very little work has been devoted to identifying allergens in corn or corn ingredients."

It also gives an explaination for the unreliability of the testing methods used today such as RAST and the skin prick test.

"Most corn allergy diagnoses reported in the scientific literature are based upon results from the skin prick test or radioallergosorbent test (RAST). However, these tests do not give reliable results with corn extracts because of the strong botanical similarities between corn and grasses, and the likelihood of cross-reaction with pre-existing grass pollen antibodies."

While the CRA is trying to prove that corn allergy is less likely than it shows on tests, those of us who've had the unreliable testing done know that those tests are unreliable both ways. You can test positive and not be allergic to it, or you can test negative and still be allergic to it.

What we need is more accurate testing, and more research into defining the allergens in corn. According to the article, the only true way to detect a corn allergy is by the use of double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC). Yet when most of us with a corn allergy have gone to our doctors about this very problem, our doctors are completely unwilling to do such testing.

And honestly, with today's food supply.. It would be nearly impossible to conduct such a study accurately to make certain the subjects were corn-free when doing a placebo. Because, if you can't make a corn-free testing diet, how can you accurately measure a test of corn diet?

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