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Food intolerances and their impact on workplace sickness absences

According to recent Allergy studies, whilst food allergy affects just 2% of the UK population, around 45% of the population will battle food-related sensitivity and food intolerances at some point in their lives. Food intolerances therefore have a significant impact on workplace sickness absence. A Government survey in 2004 [1] identified that at an average of 10 days per year, sickness absence among the 5.5 million public sector workers costs over 1.2 billion per annum, with other confounding factors and diseases such as Cardiovascular Disease. According to figures published by the Confederation of British Industry, sickness absence costs UK businesses 12.2 billion a year.

Figures released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in July 2007 [2] estimated that average sickness absence costs employers 659 per employee every year and employee absence costs employers 8.4 working days for every member of staff per year; the equivalent of 3.7% of working time.

Of the 7 main causes of sickness absence identified by the CIPD, minor illness (colds, flu, stomach upsets and headaches) and recurring medical conditions featured in the list. Minor illnesses and recurring medical conditions can be symptomatic of food intolerances.

Food intolerance testing for all your staff is one strategy occupational health departments and business owners can use to manage sickness absence and improve employee retention. It is a quick, painless and needle-free test that can be carried out in the workplace to minimise disruption to your business or organisation. Corporate food intolerance testing can be undertaken from just 20 minutes per employee to help identify possible food intolerances from the 30 most common substances. Eliminating those foods could significantly improve sickness absence rates for some employees with minor illnesses or recurring medical conditions.

Feelgoodagain offers a complete food allergy and body composition analysis package for companies. Please enquire for more information.

The services offered by are Tax Deductible.

[1]. Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector: A joint review by the ministerial task force for health, safety and productivity and the Cabinet Office. November 2004.
[2] Absence Management Survey Report. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2007

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