Recognition of nuts and seeds in children with/without food allergies and their mothers: A reflection of culinary culture


İLGÜN GÜREL D., Parlak Z., ŞAHİNER Ü. M., UYSAL SOYER Ö., ŞEKEREL B. E.

Nutrition and Health, 2024 (Scopus) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/02601060231209371
  • Journal Name: Nutrition and Health
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, ASSIA, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, Food Science & Technology Abstracts
  • Keywords: Culinary culture, education, food allergy, nutrition, peanut, pine nut, prevention, recognition, sesame, tree nut
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Background: Nuts and seeds are among the leading causes of food allergy. Effective food allergy management hinges on the ability to identify and avoid relevant foods. Aim: To evaluate the nut/seed recognition ability in both children and mothers. Methods: Primary caregivers (mothers) and their children (6–18 years old) with/without food allergies were shown photographs of nuts/seeds, and their products with visible/hidden allergens to assess their ability to recognize accurately. Results: A total of 196 children and 184 mothers participated. The median ages of the children and mothers were 7.6 (6.8–10) and 37.8 (33.1–41.5) years, respectively. Over 75% of the children/adolescents and over 90% of the mothers accurately identified the kernel forms of nuts/seeds, except pine nuts. Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews were the most accurately recognized kernel forms by both populations. Generally, the kernel forms were recognized 5–20% more accurately than their in-shell forms, followed by products with visible and hidden forms, respectively. Some Turkish culinary-specific products with visible/hidden allergens were recognized as frequently as the kernel/in-shell forms by both study groups. Although there was a similar recognition pattern between study groups and subgroups (nut/seed allergy, other food allergy, controls), higher rates of recognition were found in mothers than in their children and adolescents than in schoolchildren. Conclusion: In Eastern Mediterranean region, nuts and sesame seeds are highly recognized by both mothers and their children. Accurate identification of these foods is likely a culinary feature, but not the result of increased awareness. More information is needed on whether this ability reduces the risk of exposure.