Background & Purpose of Research:
The prevalence of food allergy is estimated at 7.5 % in Canada and food is considered one of the most common causes of anaphylaxis in the community. A recent Canadian study reported the annual incidence of accidental exposure for children with peanut allergy to be approximately 12.4%. Only 21.6% of individuals who suffered severe reactions received pre-hospital treatment with epinephrine (e.g. EpiPen), which is considered first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. Although the majority of first reactions to foods are at home (37%), accidental reactions also occur outside of the home, including 14.3% at relatives or friends’ houses, 9.3% at restaurants, and 3% at schools/childcare centres.
There are limited Canadian studies that describe the experience of food-allergic university students with campus food establishments. These food establishments can pose a danger to students, who may have limited experience dining independently, due to possible cross-contamination of common allergens and potential for inadequate or incorrect ingredient information. Issues with individuals forgetting to carry their epinephrine auto-injector (EAI), or not having an EAI available at the time of a reaction compound these problems. There may also be casual workers who have less experience and training.
The purpose of our research is to understand the attitudes and perceptions of university students with food allergies, as well as the attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of foodservice personnel on campus; and to identify potential factors that may allow for providing a safer environment for food allergic individuals at Canadian universities.
You have been asked to participate in this study because you are a student 18 years of age or older, enrolled in a Canadian university.
If you are eligible and choose to participate, you will be asked to complete a survey online.
Information learned from this study will benefit Canadian universities (students and staff), healthcare providers who treat students on and off campus, food service establishments and industry, national patient organizations, policy-makers, allergists and food-allergic patients.
There are no significant risks to participants.
Privacy & Confidentiality:
All information obtained during the study will be held in strict confidence. However, confidentiality can only be maintained to the extent participants cooperate with the request to keep proceedings confidential. You will be identified with a study number only, and the coding record will be stored in a secure computer server accessible to the investigators only. No information identifying you will be transferred outside the investigators in this study.
Your participation in this study is voluntary. You can choose to not participate. You may withdraw at any time, and not complete the survey, without any consequences.
Publication of Research Findings:
We will publish our results in aggregate form only. Individualized data will not be released, however, a summary of data may be published, but not in a manner which allows the data of individuals to be identified.
If you have any general questions about the study, please contact Ernie Avilla, Research Coordinator, McMaster University, Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 289-921-8716. If you have any questions regarding your rights as a research participant you may contact the Office of the Chair of the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (HiREB) at 905-521-2100, Ext 42013.