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Food Allergy and Hidden Sources

March 8, 2013

ScaredA food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body believes is harmful. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it creates specific antibodies for it. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system.

Avoidance is the only secure way to prevent an allergic reaction. Although an individual could be allergic to any food, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats, they are not as common as the following eight foods which account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions:

Some Hidden Sources of Milk

  • Deli meat slicers are frequently used for both meat and cheese products.
  • Some cold meats and minced meats contain milk or milk derivatives.
  • Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein.
  • Many non-dairy products contain casein (a milk derivative), listed on the ingredient labels.
  • Some meats may contain casein as a binder.
  • Some breads may contain milk.
  • Candy and chocolate bars usually contain milk or a milk derivative.
  • Many restaurants put butter on steaks after they have been grilled to add extra flavor. The butter is not visible after it melts.

Some Hidden Sources of Egg

  • Eggs have been used as to create the foam or milk topping on specialty coffee drinks and are used in some bar drinks.
  • Many baked goods contain egg.
  • Some commercial brands of egg substitutes contain egg whites.
  • Some breads and buns are coated with egg for shine and coloring.
  • Most commercially processed cooked pastas (including those used in prepared foods such as soup) contain egg or are processed on equipment shared with egg-containing pastas. Fresh pasta is usually egg-free. Read the label or ask about ingredients before eating pasta.

Some Hidden Sources of Peanuts

  • Artificial nuts can be peanuts that have been de-flavored and re-flavored with a nut, such as pecan or walnut. Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond flavoring.
  • Arachid/s oil is peanut oil.
  • It is advised that peanut-allergic patients avoid chocolate candies unless they are absolutely certain there is no risk of cross-contact during manufacturing procedures.
  • African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes often contain peanuts, or are contaminated with peanuts during preparation of these types of meals. Additionally, foods sold in bakeries and ice cream shops are often in contact with peanuts. It is recommended that peanut-allergic individuals avoid these types of foods and restaurants.
  • Many brands of sunflower seeds are produced on equipment shared with peanuts.

Some Hidden Sources of Tree Nuts

  • Artificial nuts can be peanuts that have been de-flavored and re-flavored with a nut, such as pecan or walnut. Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond flavoring.
  • Mortadella may contain pistachios.
  • Natural and artificial flavoring may contain tree nuts.
  • Tree nuts have been used in many foods including barbecue sauce, cereals, crackers, and ice cream.
  • Kick sacks, or hacky sacks, bean bags, and draft dodgers are sometimes filled with crushed nut shells.

Some Hidden Sources of Fish

  • Caponata, a traditional sweet-and-sour Sicilian relish, can contain anchovies.
  • Caesar salad dressings and steak or Worcestershire sauce often contain anchovies.
  • Surimi (imitation crabmeat) often contains fish.
  • Some Asian dishes contain fish based sauce.

Some Hidden Sources of Soy

  • Soybeans and soy products are found in baked goods, canned tuna, cereals, crackers, infant formulas, sauces, and soups.

Some Hidden Sources of Wheat

  • Many country-style wreaths are decorated with wheat products.
  • Some types of imitation crabmeat contain wheat.
  • Candy and chocolate bars.
  • Most types of potato chips (crisps).
  • Most sauces and soups.
  • Wheat flour is sometimes flavored and shaped to look like beef, pork, and shrimp, especially in Asian dishes.

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