Common Allergens and Where to Find Them - A Comprehensive Guide

As the number of people with allergies continues to rise, it’s important to understand what causes allergic reactions and where to find the most common allergens. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to the most prevalent allergens and where you’re most likely to encounter them.

Shellfish Allergens: Watch Out for Crustaceans and Shrimp Paste

Shellfish is a common allergen that can cause severe reactions in some individuals. Crabs, lobsters, prawns, and scampi are all crustaceans that can trigger an allergic reaction. Shrimp paste, often used in Thai and Southeast Asian curries or salads, is another ingredient to watch out for.

Egg Allergens: Commonly Found in Baked Goods and Sauces

Eggs are another common allergen that can be found in a variety of foods. Cakes, some meat products, mayonnaise, mousses, pasta, quiche, sauces, and pastries are all common culprits. Additionally, foods that are brushed or glazed with egg may also contain this allergen.

Fish Allergens: Hidden in Pizza, Salad Dressings, and More

Fish allergies are not uncommon, and it’s important to be aware of where fish allergens can be found. Fish sauces, pizzas, relishes, salad dressings, stock cubes, and Worcestershire sauce are just a few examples of foods that may contain fish allergens.

Milk Allergens: A Common Ingredient in Dairy Products

Milk is a widely used ingredient in many dairy products, including butter, cheese, cream, milk powders, and yoghurt. Foods that are brushed or glazed with milk may also contain this allergen, as well as powdered soups and sauces.

Peanut Allergens: Not Just for Snacking

Peanuts are actually a legume that grows underground and can be found in a variety of foods. Biscuits, cakes, curries, desserts, sauces (such as satay sauce), groundnut oil, and peanut flour are just a few examples.

Soy Allergens: A Staple Ingredient in Oriental Food

Soy is a staple ingredient in oriental cuisine and can be found in bean curd, edamame beans, miso paste, textured soya protein, soya flour, and tofu. It may also be found in desserts, ice cream, meat products, sauces, and vegetarian products.

Nut Allergens: Different from Peanut Allergies

Nuts that grow on trees, such as cashew nuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, are a separate allergen from peanuts. These can be found in breads, biscuits, crackers, desserts, nut powders (often used in Asian curries), stir-fried dishes, ice cream, marzipan (almond paste), nut oils, and sauces.

Gluten Allergens: Watch Out for Wheat, Rye, Barley, and Oats

Gluten is a common allergen that can be found in many foods that contain flour. Wheat (including spelt and Khorasan wheat/Kamut), rye, barley, and oats can all contain gluten. Some foods that may contain gluten include baking powder, batter, breadcrumbs, bread, cakes, couscous, meat products, pasta, pastry, sauces, soups, and fried foods that are dusted with flour.

Sulfur Allergens: Commonly Found in Dried Fruit and Wine

Sulfur dioxide is an ingredient that is commonly used in dried fruit, such as raisins, dried apricots, and prunes. It can also be found in meat products.