East Anglia: Local food producers sought for anosmia event

Local food producers are being sought for a unique event raising money and awareness for those who have lost their sense of smell.

Dr Carl Philpott, a senior medical lecturer at the University of East Anglia and the founder of the UK’s only Smell and Taste Clinic at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, has joined forces with Duncan Boak, the creator of new anosmia organisation Fifth Sense, to host the event in September.

Anosmia is the medical term for the inability to detect odours. It can be present from birth, or developed due to life factors such as head trauma or the common cold.

The ‘Food, Flavour and our Fifth Sense’ festival, which will be held at St Andrews Hall in Norwich, will centre around a ‘tasting experience’, where attendees will sample food designed to stimulate the four senses other than smell.

Those affected by anosmia also suffer from a diminished ability to taste the flavours of food, and therefore the organisers are looking for any local food producers who focus on using interesting and unusual flavours, textures or colours in their products, or who have a particularly innovative or creative way of preparing food.

Dr Philpott said: “The sense of smell is underrated and when lost, the problem is neglected by the medical profession at large. Through this event we hope to focus on the disabling condition and how people afflicted by anosmia can still learn to enjoy life.”

The Smell and Taste Clinic has been running for 18 months, and has treated approximately 125 people from all over the country, including many local sufferers.

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Duncan Boak has anosmia himself. He said: “Living without a sense of smell is like being a spectator, watching life from behind a pane of glass. I can see, hear, feel, think, touch, speak, but it’s as if I’m not fully engaged with the world around me; almost as if I’m not actually there.”

He founded Fifth Sense to educate others about the difficulties that those with anosmia face, and to provide support and advice to fellow sufferers. He hopes that both people with and without the condition will explore their senses at the event.

The ‘Food, Flavour and our Fifth Sense’ event will be held on Sunday, September 23, from 12 – 4pm at St Andrews Hall, Norwich. For more information, or to book a stand, contact Duncan Boak on 07976 551796 or email duncan@fifthsense.org.uk. The deadline for booking a stand is August 24.