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Soller L.,McGill University | Ben-Shoshan M.,McGill University | Harrington D.W.,Queens University | Knoll M.,McGill University | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice | Year: 2015

Background: Studies suggest that individuals of low education and/or income, new Canadians (immigrated <10 years ago), and individuals of Aboriginal identity may have fewer food allergies than the general population. However, given the difficulty in recruiting such populations (hereafter referred to as vulnerable populations), by using conventional survey methodologies, the prevalence of food allergy among these populations in Canada has not been estimated. Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of food allergy among vulnerable populations in Canada, to compare with the nonvulnerable populations and to identify demographic characteristics predictive of food allergy. Methods: By using 2006 Canadian Census data, postal codes with high proportions of vulnerable populations were identified and households were randomly selected to participate in a telephone survey. Information on food allergies and demographics was collected. Prevalence estimates were weighted by using Census data to account for the targeted sampling. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify predictors of food allergy. Results: Of 12,762 eligible households contacted, 5734 households completed the questionnaire (45% response rate). Food allergy was less common among adults without postsecondary education versus those with postsecondary education (6.4% [95% CI, 5.5%-7.3%] vs 8.9% [95% CI, 7.7%-10%]) and new Canadians versus those born in Canada (3.2% [95% CI, 2.2%-4.3%] vs 8.2% [95% CI, 7.4%-9.1%]). There was no difference in prevalence between those of low and of high income or those with and without Aboriginal identity. Conclusion: Analysis of our data suggests that individuals of low education and new Canadians self-report fewer allergies, which may be due to genetics, environment, lack of appropriate health care, or lack of awareness of allergies, which reduces self-report. © 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Source


Krska R.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Becalski A.,Food Research Division | Braekevelt E.,Food Research Division | Koerner T.,Food Research Division | And 9 more authors.
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry | Year: 2012

This article covers challenges and trends in the determination of some major food chemical contaminants and allergens, which-among others-are being monitored by Health Canada's Food Directorate and for which background levels in food and human exposure are being analyzed and calculated. Eleven different contaminants/contaminant groups and allergens have been selected for detailed discussion in this paper. They occur in foods as a result of: use as a food additive or ingredient; processing-induced reactions; food packaging migration; deliberate adulteration; and/or presence as a chemical contaminant or natural toxin in the environment. Examples include acrylamide as a food-processing- induced contaminant, bisphenol A as a food packaging-derived chemical, melamine and related compounds as food adulterants and persistent organic pollutants, and perchlorate as an environmental contaminant. Ochratoxin A, fumonisins, and paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins are examples of naturally occurring toxins whereas sulfites, peanuts, and milk exemplify common allergenic food additives/ingredients. To deal with the increasing number of sample matrices and analytes of interest, two analytical approaches have become increasingly prevalent. The first has been the development of rapid screening methods for a variety of analytes based on immunochemical techniques, utilizing ELISA or surface plasmon resonance technology. The second is the development of highly sophisticated multi-analyte methods based on liquid chromatography coupled with multiple-stage mass spectrometry for identification and simultaneous quantification of a wide range of contaminants, often with much less requirement for tedious cleanup procedures. Whereas rapid screening methods enable testing of large numbers of samples, the multi analyte mass spectrometric methods enable full quantification with confirmation of the analytes of interest. Both approaches are useful when gathering surveillance data to determine occurrence and background levels of both recognized and newly identified contaminants in foods in order to estimate human daily intake for health risk assessment. © 2011 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. Source


Harrington D.W.,McMaster University | Elliott S.J.,University of Waterloo | Clarke A.E.,McGill University | Ben-Shoshan M.,McGill University | Godefroy S.,Food Directorate
Human and Ecological Risk Assessment | Year: 2012

Food allergies are emerging health risks in much of the Western world, and some evidence suggests prevalence is increasing. Despite lacking scientific consensus around prevalence and management, policies and regulations are being implemented in public spaces (e.g., schools). These policies have been criticized as extreme in the literature, in the media, and by the non-allergic population. Backlash appears to be resulting from different perceptions of risk between different groups. This article uses a recently assembled national dataset (n = 3,666) to explore how Canadians perceive the risks of food allergy. Analyses revealed that almost 20% self-report having an allergic person in the household, while the average respondent estimated the prevalence of food allergies in Canada to be 30%. Both of these measures overestimate the true clinically defined prevalence (7.5%), indicating an inflated public understanding of the risks of food allergies. Seventy percent reported food allergies to be substantial risks to the Canadian population. Multivariate logistic regression models revealed important determinants of risk perception including demographic, experience-based, attitudinal, and regional predictors. Results are discussed in terms of understanding emerging health risks in the post-industrial era, and implications for both policy and risk communication. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source


Chen Y.,Grocery Manufacturers Association | Ross W.H.,Food Directorate | Whiting R.C.,Exponent, Inc. | van Stelten A.,Colorado State University | And 4 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

Internalin A (InlA; encoded by inlA) facilitates the crossing of the intestinal barrier by Listeria monocytogenes. Mutations leading to a premature stop codon (PMSC) in inlA and thus attenuated mammalian virulence have been reported. We recently characterized 502 L. monocytogenes food isolates from a retail survey and 507 human clinical isolates from multiple U.S. states with respect to the presence/absence of inlA mutations. The objective of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that dose responses for human listeriosis vary between L. monocytogenes strains with and those without a PMSC in inlA. Subtype-specific prevalence and concentration distributions in food, along with epidemiologic and consumption data, were input into established doseresponse models to generate an r value (probability of a cell causing illness). Under the conservative assumption that L. monocytogenes levels at retail represent levels consumed, mean log10 r values were -8.1 and -10.7 for L. monocytogenes subtypes with genes encoding a full-length and a truncated InlA, respectively. L. monocytogenes carrying a 5' frameshift mutation in a homopolymeric tract showed a mean log10 r value of -12.1. Confidence intervals for the r values and their differences varied depending on subtypes. When the increase in concentration of L. monocytogenes subtypes between retail and consumption was considered, mean log10 r values were reduced to -10.4, -13.8, and -12.8 for the subtypes with genes encoding a full-length InlA, for the subtypes carrying a PMSC in inlA, and for all L. monocytogenes isolates regardless of subtype, respectively. Our study provides further quantitative evidence that L. monocytogenes subtypes vary in abilities and relative likelihoods of causing human disease, which were mechanistically related to defined genetic markers. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. Source


Cao X.-L.,Food Directorate | Zhang J.,Food Directorate | Zhang J.,Chinese Institute of Urban Environment | Goodyer C.G.,McGill University | And 3 more authors.
Chemosphere | Year: 2012

In this study, the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in human placental and fetal liver samples collected from 1998 to 2008 was investigated to provide a more detailed analysis of the transfer of BPA across the placenta and fetal exposure to BPA. The average concentrations in placental samples were 12.6ngg-1 for free BPA, 17.2ngg-1 for BPA-glu, and 30.2ngg-1 for total BPA. The highest concentrations in placental samples were 165ngg-1 for free BPA, 178ngg-1 for BPA-glu, and 280ngg-1 for total BPA. Samples with higher levels of BPA-glu had higher levels of free BPA in general. Fetal age was observed to have a significant effect on BPA-glu levels in placental samples, but not on free or total BPA. The percentages of free BPA relative to total BPA for the placental samples varied considerably from 4.2% to 100%, suggesting that the ability of maternal liver and/or the placenta to conjugate BPA is highly variable during early to mid-gestation. The average concentrations in fetal liver samples were 9.02ngg-1 for free BPA, 19.1ngg-1 for BPA-glu, and 25.8ngg-1 for total BPA. The highest concentrations in fetal liver samples were 37.7ngg-1 for free BPA, 93.9ngg-1 for BPA-glu, and 123ngg-1 for total BPA. The percentages of free BPA level relative to total BPA for all fetal liver samples varied from 12.4% to 99.1%, indicating extensive variability in the ability of the human feto-placental unit to glucuronidate BPA. © 2012. Source

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