People with food allergies are faced with around €1,600 a year in extra costs, according to new research.
The all-island research finds that the average cost burden of a food allergy for a child is €1,439 a year.
That rises to €1,602 for an adult.
The research, carried out at Technological University Dublin and Queens University Belfast, examines the cost of living with a food hypersensitivity in Ireland for the first time.
On Breakfast Briefing this morning, Safefood Toxicologist Dr James McIntosh said hypersensitivity includes allergy, intolerance and coeliac disease.
For adults, he said, just over 70% of the costs were borne by the patient, while around 29% is shared between the patient and health services.
“Funnily enough the opposite was true for food-allergic children,” he said.
“About one-third of the costs - about €500 - were incurred by the parent themselves and about €1,000 was then shared by the health service.
“But I think it is important to note that these are actually very conservative figures. These are minimum costs because the way they were calculated they were benchmarked against the minimum wage in Ireland.
“That means the likelihood is that the costs could be much higher depending on the family and the individual.”
He said there is far more variety of foods available to people with allergies; however, they generally come at a premium price.
Dr McIntosh said the study also examined the non-monetary impacts of food hypersensitivity.
“We asked people to report on their own quality of life and, as you might expect, everybody that has a food hypersensitivity has reported a lower quality of life and also higher levels of pain and discomfort,” he said.
“That is understandable – anybody who has coeliac disease and encounters gluten, it’s not nice and it can be very debilitating.
“It’s not just the severe food allergies that can really impact on your life and your day-to-day living.”