Archives in Food and Nutrition

All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.
Reach Us +1 (629)348-3199

Perspective - Archives in Food and Nutrition (2024) Volume 7, Issue 3

Common food allergens: Understanding triggers and managing allergic reactions

Liam MacKenzie *

Department of Food Science, Maple Leaf University, Canada

*Corresponding Author:
Liam MacKenzie
Department of Food Science, Maple Leaf University, Canada

Received: 05- June-2024, Manuscript No. AAAFN-24-139067; Editor assigned: 08-June-2024, PreQC No AAAFN-24-139067 (PQ) Reviewed:19-June-2024, QC No. AAAFN-24-139067 Revised:20-June-2024, Manuscript No. AAAFN-24-139067 (R); Published:24-June-2024, DOI:10.35841/aaafn-7.3.213

Citation: MacKenzie L. Common food allergens: Understanding triggers and managing allergic reactions. Arch Food Nutr. 2024;7(3):213

Visit for more related articles at Archives in Food and Nutrition


Food allergies affect millions of people worldwide, triggering immune responses that can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening reactions. Understanding common food allergens is crucial for individuals, families, and communities to navigate dietary choices safely. This article explores the most prevalent food allergens, their sources, symptoms of allergic reactions, and strategies for managing allergies effectively [1].

Food allergens are proteins found in certain foods that trigger an abnormal immune response in susceptible individuals. When someone with a food allergy consumes or comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system mistakenly identifies the protein as harmful and produces antibodies (IgE antibodies) to fight it off. This immune response releases chemicals like histamine, leading to allergic symptoms [2].

The most common food allergens, often referred to as the "Big Eight," account for the majority of allergic reactions worldwide: Milk: Cow's milk protein allergy is common in infants and young children but can affect individuals of any age. It is distinct from lactose intolerance, which involves difficulty digesting lactose sugar [3].

Eggs: Egg allergies are prevalent in children but can be outgrown. Both egg whites and yolks can trigger allergic reactions. Peanuts: Peanut allergies are lifelong in most cases and can cause severe reactions. Even trace amounts of peanuts or peanut oil can be dangerous. Tree nuts: Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashews, and others. Tree nut allergies are often lifelong and can cause severe reactions similar to peanut allergies [4].

Soy: Soy allergies are more common in children and can cause mild to severe allergic reactions. Soy is found in various processed foods and sauces. Wheat: Wheat allergies are different from gluten intolerance (celiac disease) and can trigger allergic reactions ranging from mild itching to anaphylaxis. Fish: Fish allergies are common in adults and can cause severe reactions. They are distinct from shellfish allergies [5].

Food allergens can be found in a wide range of products beyond their obvious sources. For example, milk proteins can be present in baked goods, while soy can be found in processed foods and sauces. Peanuts and tree nuts can be hidden in candies, sauces, and even non-food products like cosmetics. Understanding cross-contamination risks and reading food labels carefully are essential for individuals with food allergies [6].

Mild symptoms: Itching, hives, eczema, swelling (especially around the face, lips, tongue, and throat), and nasal congestion. Moderate symptoms: Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty swallowing. Severe symptoms (anaphylaxis): Difficulty breathing, wheezing, drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse, loss of consciousness, and potentially life-threatening symptoms. Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention and treatment with epinephrine [7].

Diagnosing food allergies involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests: Skin prick test: A small amount of allergen is pricked into the skin to observe for allergic reactions. Blood test: Measures the level of IgE antibodies specific to certain allergens. Oral food challenge: Under medical supervision, gradually increasing amounts of suspected allergens are ingested to confirm or rule out allergies [8].

Reading labels: Always read ingredient labels carefully to identify potential allergens. Manufacturers are required to list common allergens in bold or specify them in ingredient lists. Cross-contamination: Be aware of cross-contact with allergens in shared cooking utensils, surfaces, and equipment. Practice safe food preparation and ask about allergen-free options when dining out [9].

Fortunately, there are many allergen-free alternatives available for individuals with food allergies: Milk: Alternatives include soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. Eggs: Substitutes include applesauce, mashed banana, or commercial egg replacers in baking. Peanuts and tree nuts: Sunflower seed butter, soy nut butter, or seed-based snacks can be alternatives [10].


Understanding common food allergens, their sources, symptoms of allergic reactions, and effective management strategies is crucial for promoting allergen safety and supporting individuals with food allergies. By fostering awareness, advocating for safe practices, and embracing allergen-free alternatives, we can create inclusive environments where everyone can enjoy food safely and without fear of allergic reactions. Continued research, education, and support are essential in improving the quality of life for individuals living with food allergies and advancing treatments to mitigate their impact.


  1. Sicherer SH. Understanding and managing your child's food allergies. JHU Press; 2006.
  2. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  3. Turnbull JL, Adams HN, Gorard DA. The diagnosis and management of food allergy and food intolerances. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics. 2015;41(1):3-25.
  4. Google Scholar

  5. Renz H, Allen KJ, Sicherer SH,. Food allergy. Nature reviews Disease primers. 2018;4(1):1-20.
  6. Google Scholar

  7. Walker MJ, Gowland MH. Food Allergy: Managing Food Allergens. Analysis of Food Toxins and Toxicants. 2017:711-42.
  8. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  9. De Martinis M, Sirufo MM, Suppa M, Ginaldi L. New perspectives in food allergy. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(4):1474.
  10. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  11. Abrams EM, Sicherer SH. Diagnosis and management of food allergy. Cmaj. 2016 Oct 18;188(15):1087-93.
  12. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  13. Sicherer SH,. Food allergy from infancy through adulthood. J Allergy and Cli Immunol: In Practice. 2020;8(6):1854-64.
  14. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  15. Sampson HA. Food allergy–accurately identifying clinical reactivity. Allergy. 2005;60:19-24.
  16. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  17. Sicherer SH. Epidemiology of food allergy. J Allergy and Clin Immunol. 2011;127(3):594-602.
  18. Google Scholar

  19. Seth D, Poowutikul P, Pansare M, et al.,. Food allergy: a review. Pediatric annals. 2020;49(1):e50-8.
  20. Google Scholar


Get the App