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A recent update from our Natasha Clinical Trial showed something rather amazing. Although the trial is still ongoing, doctors have found that normal, shop-bought foods can be used as a ‘medicine’ to treat people with food allergies.

This approach – known as oral immunotherapy (OIT) – means children living with food allergies should no longer have an allergic reaction if they eat something that accidentally contains the food allergen, for example due to cross-contamination.

Parents of children with severe milk and peanut allergies have described how their lives have been transformed by this pioneering approach, which involves taking daily ‘doses’ of everyday food products under strict medical supervision, rather than expensive pharmaceuticals, to train the body to tolerate an allergen.

Doctors have seen children on the trial consuming and tolerating the very foods that previously would have triggered a severe allergic reaction. Among them is Thomas Farmer, aged 11, who was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy when he was just one year old. He can now eat six real peanuts a day.

“For Thomas to be able to achieve all this with no medicine – just off-the-shelf foods – is amazing,” said his mother Lauren.

If successful, the three-year trial, led by researchers at the University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton and Imperial College London, will provide the evidence for the treatment to be made available on the NHS.

Offering the treatment more widely would be a huge step forward for people with food allergies and their families. The results from the £2.5m trial confirm what we always thought: that pharma does not hold all the answers to solving major health issues.

Food allergies are everyone’s problem, and finding new ways to treat them has never been more important. New figures from the Food Standards Agency show 6% of adults in the UK now have a diagnosed food allergy. That’s 2.4 million people. Children and young people are more likely to be affected; studies show they typically have double the food allergy rates of adults, taking the total into millions in this country alone.

Since we set up the charity in 2019, we have met with the CEOs and boards of many food businesses across grocery, catering, brands, manufacturers, digital and food to go to highlight the growing food allergy epidemic. Business understands that food allergy is a non-competitive issue, and the sooner it is sorted, the better it is for the sector as a whole. Reputational risk around food allergies remains high, and the operational costs of managing allergens continue to grow.

Those businesses with the heart for doing the right thing –small and large – are supporting Natasha’s Foundation. Through their donations, they are helping the charity to solve more rapidly the growing food allergy problem.

The Natasha Clinical Trial is only possible with the support of these businesses. For this, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

However, there remain some well-known food businesses that have decided not to support the work of the charity. We can only assume this is down to the misguided belief that food allergies are not their problem. I doubt very much their customers would agree.

Food allergies are a modern-day epidemic. They didn’t exist 150 years ago, and to reverse them will take hard work, time and money. But we are stronger together, and the more support the charity has, the faster we can solve the problem and achieve our goal to ‘make allergy history’.

To find out more and work with us, contact