Food Allergy

What Is a food allergy?

Your body’s immune systems normally defend you from disease and germs. It helps to fight off viruses and bacteria and other small organisms that can make you ill. If your immune system thinks that a specific food as an allergen, this could be dangerous for the person. In a true allergy the immune system produces antibodies and antihistamines in response to the specific food. There is no cure for food allergies at the present time.

A food intolerance is difficulty digesting certain foods and having a reaction to them.  A food intolerance does not involve the immune system, and normally is not life threatening.  Symptoms can unpleasant symptoms like, bloating and stomach pain, which can occur from a few to several hours after eating the food.

Food allergies can develop at any age as well from birth.

It is common for children to grow out of allergies particularly to egg, wheat, and cow’s milk. People with allergies to peanuts, (tree) nuts, fish, and shellfish normally have the condition for life.

People can be allergic to all types of food but the most common In the UK are known as the top 14 allergens, which include:

  • Celery
  • Cereal including Gluten.
  • Crustaceans also known as shellfish e.g., lobster, shrimp, crab.
  • Eggs
  • Fish e.g., trout, salmon
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs also known as shellfish.
  • Mustard
  • Nuts also known as tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts.
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soya
  • Sulphites

In some cases, there’s no obvious trigger. This is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis. (Source NHS)

Food-dependent, exercise induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA), this happens when a certain food is consumed before exercise, this food may not cause issues at any other time.

Please note.

  1. Cooking does not eliminate the allergens.
  2. Anaphylaxis is not just caused by the main 14 allergens; other foods can trigger food allergic reactions.
  3. Do not have a little bit of the food with allergen in, thinking it might cure you of your allergy, this can be dangerous, be guided by your consultant if you are to consume this food again or not. 
  4. Some foods can be airborne e.g., melted cheese, nuts, either through airborne proteins or grinding/ crushing, see cross contamination menu tab below to learn about this.
  5. A food allergy can start at any age.
  6. Sometimes in adults a cause cannot be identified, and this is called Idiopathic allergic reaction.
  7. Another food allergy condition is known as Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS), also known as oral allergy syndrome.

Please click on the buttons for 14 Allergens Avoidance Lists, Cross Contamination, and Allergies And Anaphylaxis Symptoms.

British Food Allergy Awareness have covered other countries food so if you are travelling this will help, the list is not extensive and always the responsibility of the individual to always read labels and seek medical advice on avoidance foods for their allergy. Please be aware you do not necessarily have to eat to have a reaction, airborne allergens e.g., cheese cooking can cause allergic reactions.

The body reacts to the allergen and could cause an allergic reaction, or a severe reaction can cause anaphylaxis.


Food allergy NHS

This information is only given as guidance and not extensive. Information to be used at individual’s responsibility.  Always seek medical advice.

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