More than 160 foods exist that can cause reactions for people with food allergies.
Eight most common allergenic foods listed by the law are named:
3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
The Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act of 2004, requires that food regulated by the FDA, local and imported, list source of ingredients. (Foods not regulated by the FDA are meat, poultry, and certain egg products.)
Allergic reactions may include: hives, coughing, wheezing, rash, itchy sensation in the mouth, swelling of the face, tongue, or lip, vomiting and/or diarrhea, swelling of the throat and vocal cords, and difficulty in breathing.
A person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, following ingestion of a food allergen. Mild symptoms that occur after ingesting food allergens can sometime become more severe, and should be treated promptly.
Anaphylaxis can lead to: severe lowering of blood pressure and shock (anaphylactic shock), constricted airways in the lungs, and extreme swelling of the throat. It is estimated that anaphylaxis to food results in 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths annually.
From first-hand experience, we recommend a person with tendencies toward food allergies carry an antihistamine with them at all times. Prompt administration of epinephrine by autoinjector (e.g., Epi-pen) during early symptoms of anaphylaxis may help prevent this serious situation.