WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON FOOD ALLERGENS?
by Dr Vaid Ji on Jan 19, 2024
The most common food allergens, recognized internationally, are often referred to as the "Big Eight" and are responsible for the majority of allergic reactions to foods. These allergens are required to be clearly labeled in many countries to help individuals with food allergies identify and avoid them. Here are the most common food allergens:
- Milk: Allergic reactions can occur to proteins found in cow's milk. This includes various dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Eggs: Egg allergies are typically directed toward proteins in both egg whites and egg yolks. Eggs are common ingredients in many baked goods and processed foods.
- Peanuts: Peanut allergies can be severe, and even small amounts can trigger allergic reactions. Peanuts are prevalent in many snacks, candies, and Asian cuisine.
- Tree Nuts: This category includes various nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, and others. People with tree nut allergies may need to avoid a range of products.
- Soy: Soy allergies are reactions to proteins found in soybeans. Soy is a common ingredient in processed foods, vegetarian products, and Asian cuisine.
- Wheat: Wheat allergies can involve proteins like gluten. People with wheat allergies must avoid wheat-containing products like bread, pasta, and certain baked goods.
- Fish: Fish allergies can be reactions to proteins found in various types of fish. This includes both finned fish (like salmon or tuna) and shellfish (like shrimp or crab).
- Shellfish: Shellfish allergies can involve reactions to proteins in crustaceans (e.g., shrimp, crab, lobster) and mollusks (e.g., clams, mussels, oysters).
These allergens are often identified on food labels using their common names, and labeling regulations aim to make it easier for individuals with food allergies to avoid problematic ingredients. It's important for individuals with food allergies to carefully read labels, communicate their dietary needs when dining out, and be prepared for potential allergic reactions.