Socio-economic cost of food hypersensitivity on the island of Ireland

Dublin Institute of Technology

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  • DIT Cathal Brugha Street
    Dublin Institute of Technology
    Dec 3, 2018

This study consists of an extensive literature review and examination of available datasets, regarding medically diagnosed food allergies (FA) and coeliac disease (CD) on the island of Ireland.  This initial review will feed into a larger survey study, which will be constructed with careful consideration to similar surveys studies (and their methods) in the literature, and with a view to compiling data that is currently unavailable. In order to examine the socioeconomic cost (direct, indirect and intangible) of food hypersensitivity, we plan on carrying out two large surveys of medically diagnosed sufferers with both FA and CD, in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and in Northern Ireland (NI). Theses two studies (one in each jurisdiction) will be subdivided into questionnaires focused on the parents of children & adolescents with FA (<18 years), adults with FA (>18 years), and individuals with CD. A DIT based postgraduate MSc student will be recruited to complete this study over a 21 month period (with a submission of MSc thesis at 24 months). This project will also include: organising focus groups with FA and CD sufferers and meeting/interviewing stakeholders (such as support groups, medics etc).   The MSc student will be supported by the project team: a supervisor, a medical consultant, a health economist and a statistician.

It is expected that the analysed survey data, in combination with the information gathered at focus groups & meetings with stakeholders, will assist in the formulation of recommendations relevant to citizens suffering with food hypersensitivities in Ireland today. In addition, it is our aspiration that these findings will inform policy, risk communication, educate stakeholders (including the food sector), and ultimately assist in improving the ‘quality of life’ (QoL) of individuals living with food hypersensitivity on the island of Ireland.