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Causes of eczema in the food industry.

In a retrospective study covering a five-year period, 3664 consecutive patients suspected to suffer from contact dermatitis were patch tested in a private dermatology clinic. 180 of these patients had food handling occupations; they were employed in restaurant or institutional kitchens, fish factories, bakeries, or slaughterhouses. 25 of the 180 patients had protein dermatitis caused by meat or vegetables. This particular dermatitis was most common among restaurant personnel who make openface sandwiches and fish factory workers. 59 of the 180 patients had positive patch tests: 9 of these were to the food items: onion, lettuce, potato and carrot. For 91 of the 180 patients the dermatitis was considered to be occupational.

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