Do you suffer from an allergy? Did you know that since January 2006, all food producers have been required to identify the presence of certain top food allergens in products? These are, simply, the foods most likely to cause an allergic reaction, ranging from itches to anaphylaxis. It is required by the FALCPA ( Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act) that they are listed on the label used as an ingredient, but in some other cases, they can be considered contamination from common use of processing equipment for different products. In this case, there must be a warning on the label of the possibility of contamination.
These are the top 8 food allergens identified:
This perfidious legume is the most likely allergen to cause anaphylaxis, and the most likely of the top food allergens to be found through cross-contamination of equipment. The allergy is an immune reaction to proteins contained in the nut.
2. Tree Nuts
Including almonds, pecans, walnuts and the like, a person might be allergic to only one type of tree nut. The problem, as with peanuts, is the use of common processing equipment. The allergy is an immune reaction to the offending nuts’ proteins.
3. Soy Beans
Soy is also a legume and, though without a strong possibility of anaphylaxis, this top food allergen has proteins that can cause many other symptoms. However, it is often used as a replacement for other allergenic products, such as wheat.
Egg allergy is an immune reaction to one or more proteins in the eggs. The proteins of the yolk and the white are different, and while many people are allergic to only one, it can be difficult to avoid cross-contamination. This top food allergen is common in children, and it too can cause anaphylaxis.
Allergies to milk are prompted by the proteins in casein and whey, two of the major components of milk. It’s quite common to hear of people who can’t deal with this top food allergen to be referred to as lactose intolerant because milk and milk derivatives are so wide-ranging.
Wheat, as a primary food source, is surprisingly problematic and a major food allergen. Gluten allergies and allergies to wheat have increased in recent years or, perhaps due to their usual mildness, have only begun to be diagnosed.
Fish, such as Cod, Snapper, Flounder, and the like, can cause anaphylaxis, and it is sometimes difficult to determine whether one is allergic to one specific type of fish, or fish in general. It is therefore advisable, if one shows symptoms from any specific fish, to avoid all fish.
Shellfish, such as Crabs, Lobster, Prawns, etc., can cause strong immune reactions. Many people are allergic to only one type of shellfish, but this can change, either as part of aging, or increased exposure. Therefore, if you exhibit allergies to one type of shellfish, it is considered best to avoid all types.
Remember, these 8 top food allergens are now required by law to be listed on food labeling, whether as an ingredient or a possible trace contaminant. Live well!
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