Asda is recalling their Limited Edition Szechuan Chicken due to an undeclared allergen on the label, barley. Barley contains gluten, which people can be allergic or intolerant to. People can also be intolerant to other compounds within barley.
A food allergy is caused when the body mistakenly creates the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE) as a reaction to certain foods, or other allergens such as wasp or bee stings, medication (for instance, penicillin) or latex. This triggers a severe immune response, releasing large amounts of histamines and other substances in the body. This can lead to local reactions, like vomiting and diarrhoea, itching or swelling of the skin, sneezing, wheezing and coughing. When the reaction becomes a systemic one (ie, affecting the whole body), this reaction can turn into anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening condition.
According to Thermo Scientific, there are a number of allergens in barley, apart from gluten. "Barley may commonly induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals. Symptoms may include gastrointestinal distress, atopic dermatitis and urticaria, angioedema, anaphylaxis and food-dependant, exercise-induced anaphylaxis, wheezing and baker's asthma. Cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, fever, stuffy nose, and skin itching/rash on exposure to grain dust have also been reported, as well as "grain fever". Barley may also exacerbate certain skin conditions, and cause coeliac disease.
To get back to Asda's Limited Edition Szechuan Chicken, the product was sold for £4 each, has a use by date of 29 April 2017, and contains the barcode number 5054781530756S.
To read the Food Standard's Agency recall notice, click here, and to read Asda's own recall notice on their website, click here.