Allergies aren’t simple: people in different countries tend to have different food allergies. In one part of Europe, some people are allergic to the flesh of apples (but not the skin), while others are allergic only to the skin!

Greeks are rarely allergic to peanuts (an allergy that afflicts many children in the US), but many of them are allergic to melon (an allergy which is almost unheard of here). Some Italians are allergic to apples (another rare allergy in the US). In fact, hazelnuts and apples are common food allergies in Europe. Scientists still don’t understand why these regional differences exist.

In New Scientist, Andrew Watson reports that these regional variations are likely to be due in part to differences in eating habits, causing people to be exposed to different allergens.

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