Keep Composting Safe With These Precautions for Food Allergic Individuals

According to the AAAAI, the heat from composting may have a minor effect in altering the allergic properties of the foods treated but how much so is not predictable.

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If you are food allergic and are doing the composting, wear a pollen mask to prevent inhaling any particles. Goggles, gloves, and wearing long sleeves and long pants can prevent contact exposure if you have scratches or open wounds.

Milwaukee, WI (PRWEB) June 21, 2012

As we become more environmentally conscious, earth-friendly practices like composting are gaining popularity in homes and community settings. But is composting food waste safe for people with food allergies? According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), following some basic precautions can keep this activity safe for most food allergic individuals.

For a food to cause a significant allergic reaction, it must get inside the body. This can be through eating, contact with an open wound (such as a scratch), or inhaling fine particles in the air or fumes from heated food. In most instances, being near or adding food waste in a composter or a composting pile should have little risk to a food allergic person, providing:

  •     If you are food allergic and are doing the composting, wear a pollen mask to prevent inhaling any particles. Goggles, gloves, and wearing long sleeves and long pants can prevent contact exposure if you have scratches or open wounds.
  •     If you are composting and are around someone with food allergies, wear gloves when composting or thoroughly wash your hands so that you don’t run the risk of transferring allergen particles.

Is the heat generated from the composting process enough to prevent an allergic reaction?
Research is showing that extensively heating milk and egg can reduce the potential for an allergic reaction. Since heat is released in the composting process, many people wonder if the heat changes the makeup of the allergen enough that it is no longer an allergen.

While heat can affect the allergic properties of foods, the effect differs from food to food. It also depends upon the degree and duration of heating. For instance, roasting can actually increase the allergic properties of peanuts, whereas boiling has the potential to cause a decrease.

The bottom line is that the heat from composting may have a minor effect in altering the allergic properties of the foods treated, but how much so is not predictable. If you have food allergies, be safe. Use the strategies mentioned above when you handle the materials after the composting process too.

The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 6,600 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help find a specialist close to home.


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