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Food Allergy FAQs

Find answers to the most common questions about Food Allergen below. Look through the topics below and select the question to reveal the answer.

Food Allergy Training Course

This Food Allergy Awareness Training course is designed to help learners identify the fourteen particular food allergens which must, by law, be recognised and to understand why foods containing allergens must be handled carefully.

Food Allergy Awareness Training

Food Allergen Fact FAQs

Can adults develop food allergies?

Most allergies affect young children under three but can also develop during adulthood, with the most common being peanuts, fish, shellfish and tree nuts. Allergies that develop during adulthood tend to be lifelong.

Can Food Allergies Be Cured?

There is no cure for allergies, though they can occasionally go away on their own. Food allergies can be treated to relieve the symptoms, usually through the use of antihistamines for mild to moderate reactions and adrenaline for severe reactions.

Common Food Allergy causes

A food allergy is caused by the body’s immune system treating harmless proteins as a potential threat and releasing chemicals, which cause an allergic reaction. Most of the typical symptoms are caused by histamine, like redness and swelling, itchiness and an increase in mucus in the lining of the nose.

Do allergies get worse with age?

There’s no simple answer to this, as some food allergies can go away on their own or develop in adulthood, while others can worsen over time, caused by repeated exposure to them. But each individual’s allergies and reactions to them are usually unique, so predicting what will happen is difficult.

How do you know if you have a food intolerance?

The most common symptoms of food intolerance are stomach pain, bloating, wind, diarrhea or skin rashes and itching. However, as these can be caused by other factors, the best way to know if you have a food intolerance is to monitor your diet and look for common patterns.

How do you stop a food allergy?

The only surefire way to stop having an allergic reaction to certain foods is to stop eating them and avoiding anything that contains them. This often means having to do a lot of research and asking questions before trying something new.

Food Allergen Fact FAQs Continued

How long does food allergy reaction last?

Food allergy reactions can vary in how long they take to start and how long they last, with most allergic reactions lasting no more than a couple of hours. Some can start within minutes of eating the food and others can take up to two hours, and in some cases, a biphasic reaction means that the symptoms can seem to start again up to four hours later.

What are the most common food allergies?

Any food can cause an allergic reaction but in children, the most common foods include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

What are the most common food allergies in adults?

In adults, the foods that most commonly cause a reaction are peanuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, apples, peaches, fish, crab, lobster and prawns.

What is the best medicine for food allergies?

Antihistamines are among the most popular treatment for minor food allergies.

What is the best treatment for food allergies?

The best course of treatment will depend on how severe the allergy is. Antihistamines are a popular treatment for minor food allergies. The best way to treat a severe allergy is to avoid the food that causes it.

Which are the most common food allergy in the UK?

The most common food allergies in the UK are peanuts, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs and cows milk.

Food Hygiene Resources

Get the latest food hygiene news and resources with our dedicated resource hub.

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Food Allergen Legislation FAQs

What are the required label elements?

Prepackaged food needs to have an ingredients list that emphasises allergenic ingredients, for example by making them bold. If there is a risk of cross-contamination in the production process, the packaging needs to say that it ‘may contain x’ or is ‘not suitable for someone with x allergy’.

What are three things required on a workplace label?

The three things that need to be on a WHMIS workplace label are the product name (matching the one included on the Safety Data Sheet); safe handling precautions, which may include pictograms or other supplier label information; and a reference to the Safety Data Sheet.

What information has to be on a food label?

The product name, safe handling precautions, which may include pictograms or other supplier label information; and a reference to the Safety Data Sheet should be included on a food label.

What information would you find on a Whmis label?

There are two types of WHMIS label used: a supplier label and a workplace label. Supplier labels must include a pictogram hazard symbol, a signal word, and statements about the nature of the hazard and precautions that can be taken. Workplace labels include product name; safe handling precautions, which may include pictograms or other supplier label information; and a reference to the Safety Data Sheet.

Which products made from allergenic ingredients do not need to be declared as allergens?

Some products, like a bottle of wine, are not required to provide an ingredients list. However, any allergenic ingredients within this product must still be declared using a ‘contains’ statement followed by the name of the allergenic substances.

Who does the food information regulations apply to?

Food information regulations apply to the manufacturers and suppliers of food products. They apply to anyone that operates a food business, even if that food was given to customers for free, though they don’t apply for businesses that provide food at an occasional event, like a village fair.

Food Allergen Reactions FAQs

How do food allergies develop?

The exact reasons why food allergies develop aren’t always clear, with research indicating both genetic and environmental causes. For example, if a family member has a food allergy, that makes it more likely that you will develop one too, while the bacteria in your stomach can also cause it.

How do they test for food allergies?

First, you’ll need to talk to a doctor about your symptoms and if a food allergy is suspected, you’ll be tested at a clinic. If the symptoms developed quickly you’ll be given a skin prick or blood test, while symptoms that developed more slowly are tested through a food elimination diet.

How do you get rid of an allergic reaction fast?

If the reaction is serious enough to lead to anaphylaxis, you need to get emergency help immediately and if they have one with them use an auto-injector like an EpiPen. Afterwards, while you wait for help, put them in the recovery position.

How do you get tested for food allergies?

You can try a skin prick test to detect a food allergy.

How long does food allergy reaction last?

Food allergy reactions can vary in how long they take to start and how long they last, with most allergic reactions lasting no more than a couple of hours. Some can start within minutes of eating the food and others can take up to two hours, and in some cases, a biphasic reaction means that the symptoms can seem to start again up to four hours later.

What happens to your body when you have a food allergy?

Any of these things can happen to your body when you have a reaction to a food allergy: hives, itching or eczema; tingling or itching in the mouth; swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat; wheezing, nasal congestion or breathing trouble; dizziness or lightheadedness and; abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.

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