No one is certain why food allergies are on the rise. By now nearly 15 million Americans have a food allergy, ranging from moderate to severe. One of every 13 children has one. Nuts, soy, milk, egg, wheat and shellfish are some of the foods that most commonly set off allergic reactions. In some cases, the reaction can be so severe that it results in the throat swelling up and closing, leading to death. For a child with a severe food allergy, every meal that isn't made under appropriate supervision can be hazardous.
Dr. Kari Nadeau is one of the scientists at the forefront of food allergy research. She directs the Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research, SAFAR, at Stanford University School of Medicine. She's an associate professor of allergies and immunology at the school and the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, and is currently conducting a clinical trial testing a technique for desensitizing children with multiple severe food allergies.