You might know someone with an allergy to strawberries, kiwis, maybe the odd tomato. Now, everyone’s favorite part of tuna salad — celery — is popping up on allergy lists where only gluten, dairy, shellfish and nuts once resided. What’s more dangerous than the peanut butter on your celery? Let’s find out.
Celery allergies have been reported more frequently in Europe than the United States for reasons about as mysterious as celery. So, not terribly mysterious. That’s simply where the highest reported incidence of allergies have been reported. Those allergic to pollen (“hay fever”) are more susceptible and may experience similar symptoms of hives, upper respiratory swelling and difficulty breathing, itchiness, worsening of existing asthma and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis. In the UK and EU, packaged food containing celery is labeled, along with more common allergens like nuts, dairy, eggs, shellfish, wheat and soy. Restaurants are also required to highlight the presence of celery in food. Take Mildreds in London, for example — one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in the city. They alert diners of dishes containing celery. Here? Not so much.
Can those allergic to celery eat celery root/celeriac? No. What about celery salt? No, because it’s made with celery seeds. What about Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda (aka Jewish champagne)? Believe it or not, its delicious, peppery herbaceousness comes from celery seeds. Sorry, European celery-allergy sufferers, you’re missing out on a real treat. Perhaps this is what spawned Portlandia’s famous "Celery Incident" with Steve Buscemi. Just a theory, mind you.
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