Food Allergy and Dietitians

A new study by Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, at Mount Sinai School of Medicine concludes that pediatric dietitians self-reported their proficiency is only moderate when it comes to food allergy. Dietitians would prefer, and certainly benefit from, more training on food allergy.

Several years ago, our allergist's office hired a dietitian for individuals and families with food allergies. I set up an appointment looking for information on calcium and protein sources for our dairy, egg, nut allergic child. At the time we were also avoiding wheat, soy and corn and I was struggling with preparing balanced, nutritious meals and snacks. During the appointment, I was given hand-outs on specific food allergies. That's about it. She offered little helpful information and I felt like I educated her more than the other way around.

I'm not blaming the dietitian. I just think she was hired due to her credentials and wasn't given satisfactory training in food allergy. There is a need for dietitians who are food allergy savvy. Fortunately ELL and other organizations are stepping up to train dietitians.

Recent similar studies of school nurses and pediatricians have also shown they have limited, and sometimes incorrect, knowledge of food allergies. Those of us in the food allergy circle can help by educating our own school nurses and doctors. Rather than feel upset over their lack of knowledge, pass on relevant research, books and food allergy conference/workshop information. We can all play a role in education.
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