Speaking of nuts (which Cameron is on Channel 4 news at the moment, in relation to the VAT cut, presumably hoping that Ken Clarke isn't listening) I was slightly alarmed to see that in Zambia they add peanut oil to their sugar. I spotted it on the sachets in the hotel room - and yes, I am the sort of person who reads sugar sachets even when I don't take sugar. It's an automatic reflex.
Until very recently I had two members of staff and an intern with nut allergies, one of whom was so allergic that he wouldn't touch anything which even mentioned being made in a factory where nuts were present. So the sugar is potentially a killer, and not something anyone is likely to check. Sugar is usually just sugar, isn't it?
Later, as chance would have it, I ended up in the company of someone from Zambia Sugar at the High Commissioner's house, at a reception for British business people. Turns out they add Vitamin A to the sugar because there's a real deficiency problem in Zambia, and peanut oil is added to aid absorption. (One of the strange things about Africa is the way sugar is promoted as a healthy food - they do it in Uganda too). I asked him about nut allergies and he seemed bemused, but then said it was only a tiny amount anyway and shrugged it off.
No idea what the prevalence of food allergies is in Zambia. Ground nuts are very much a staple part of the diet. I thought maybe it was one of those things that comes as a result of a pampered Western lifestyle and diet, but in Jo'burg airport the labelling on the South African produce re potential allergens was incredibly comprehensive. Although maybe that's because it's designated for tourists.
So - do Africans suffer from food allergies? Anyone know?