Allergens & Intolerances

Please note: this page is under development and contains information that may change. It is also subject to correction, reformat and other modifications. Feel sick after eating? Don’t ignore your body’s signals: contact your MD or, if you suspect Anaphylaxis (Anaphylactic Shock) call an ambulance for transport to a hospital or other urgent care facility on an emergency basis.

This page outlines various allergens and intolerances relevant to recalled food or other issues covered on this site. Please read the important information regarding under what terms and conditions we offer this material at the bottom of each article and on the “About Recalls Direct” tab on this page.

General Symptoms of Anaphylaxis (Anaphylactic Shock):

Allergic reactions are severe adverse situations that occur when one’s own immune system overreacts to a particular substance, often called an allergen. These reactions are typically caused by eating specific foods, contact with insect or reptile stings (and the resultant venom or saliva), exposure to latex and latex-containing objects, some over-the-counter “OTC” medications, prescription drugs and a host of other substances.

Owing to a host of factors, different people can react to different substances with mild physical irritation that disappears without formal treatment all the way to sudden urgent, life threatening respiratory failure that requires immediate medical intervention. Some allergies are more common when people are younger; others are based on long-term exposure so tend to experienced by older individuals. It is not uncommon for some people to have allergies to more than one substance, complicating both diagnosis and emergency treatment.

The main danger from allergy is Anaphylaxis, an extreme, often life-threatening, allergic reaction to an antigen (e.g., a bee sting, peanuts, egg, shellfish or other substance) to which the body has become hypersensitive following an earlier exposure. This over-sensitivity can manifest the following signs and symptoms (in order of severity).

  • Flushed face, hives or a rash, red and itchy skin
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, throat and tongue
  • Trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing
  • Anxiety, distress, faintness, paleness, sense of doom, weakness
  • Cramps, diarrhea, vomiting
  • A drop in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, loss of consciousness

Please note: time is of the essence in treating Anaphylaxis! This condition should be considered a medical emergency. Do not delay treatment; call an ambulance immediately and administer any medication as soon as possible (see next two paragraphs).

If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

NEW: You can watch a video on how to administer an EpiPen injection from our Helpful Videos tab, located at the top of this page. This video is helpful for both kids, parents as well as babysitters, child minders and other caregivers.

If you or a family member suffers from any food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity, it would be wise to keep an EpiPen or other injectable drug kit handy in case of sudden Anaphylaxis. All family members should be trained in the correct use of this emergency equipment.

 


Barley Allergy:

About Barley Allergy:

Please see Wheat & Barley Allergy near the bottom of this page.

 


 

Egg Allergy:

For some people, egg (and egg products) are a source of urgent, dangerous and potentially deadly, allergic reactions. Foods made from egg ingredients may not necessarily sound as if they are derived from egg products. Examples of these include words such as “albumin”, “binder”, “emulsifier” or “lecithin”. These ingredients (and many more) are likely derived from egg protein and thus can cause serious allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Anaphylactic Shock could occur in consumers who are allergic to foods containing egg within a very short time, potentially leading to severe injury and/or death.

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Milk Allergy & Lactose Intolerance:

For some people, milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt are a source of urgent, dangerous and potentially deadly, allergic reactions. In these people, the immune system reacts abnormally to milk proteins and can cause Anaphylactic Shock, a dangerous and life-threatening condition.

Other people, however, are intolerant (rather than allergic) to milk protein. This means they can’t digest lactose, a primary component of milk, because their body doesn’t produce enough of a specific enzyme called Lactase (also known as lactase-phlorizin hydrolase, or “LPH”).

Most babies are born with a high ability to digest milk. After weaning, however, our ability to digest milk is often diminished leading to the very common symptoms of adult-onset Hypolactasia or lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea after milk ingestion.

If you are unsure whether you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, consult your MD who may refer you to an Allergist, a physician who has extra training to diagnose and treat allergies.

Due to modern food manufacturing methods, milk products may not “look” or “sound” as if they are derived from milk. Some examples of foods with milk proteins include artificial butter or cheese flavor; casein or caseinates; curds; ghee; hydrolysates; lactalbumin and lactalbumin phosphate; lactose, lactoglobulin, lactoferrin and lactulose; and finally, rennet (originally, ground calves’ stomach but more often now, by-products of genetically engineered bacteria, mold or yeast).

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Mustard Allergy

About Mustard Allergies:
For some people, mustard (and mustard-containing products) are a source of urgent, dangerous and potentially deadly, allergic reactions requiring immediate medical intervention and treatment. Anaphylactic Shock could occur in consumers who are allergic to foods containing mustard within a very short time, potentially leading to severe injury and/or death.

Where can mustard be found?
If you are allergic, you should suspect Mustard in a wide variety of packaged, baked or processed foods. Read labels very carefully: in some cases, manufacturers may change ingredient formulations from one package size to another or from one part of the country to another owing to local ingredient availability. Just because a food has proven safe in the past doesn’t mean it is now. Product artwork changes may be another clue that more vigilance is required: manufactures may change formulations when revisions are made to the look and feel of the product.

In particular, look for Mustard in the following foods:

  • Baby/toddler foods
  • Condiments
  • Curries, Chutneys
  • Dehydrated soups
  • Meat processed into forms (including sausages, salami and others) including hamburgers, steakettes, some fast food products, especially burgers
  • Pickles and other pickled products
  • Potatoes that have been dehydrated, mashed or otherwise processed
  • Salad Dressings (including vinaigrettes and cruditées)
  • Sauces (including those marked as Barbecue, Béarnaises, Curry, Cumberland, Gravies), Ketchup, Marinades, Mayonnaises, Pesto, prepared pizza sauces, tomato sauces and Vinaigrettes)
  • Spices, flavoring or seasoning (foods that have generic “spices” or “seasoning” are particularly risky)
  • Sprouted seeds Vegetables prepared with vinegar or other agents

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Peanut & Groundnut Allergy:

About Peanut and Groundnut Allergy:
For some people, Peanuts are a source of dangerous, urgent and potentially deadly, allergic reactions requiring immediate medical intervention. Anaphylactic Shock could occur in consumers who are allergic to Peanuts within a very short time, potentially leading to severe injury and/or death. If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center.

Foods that often contain hidden Peanuts

  • Exotic foods, especially those from Asia such as satay, Thai or Indian curry, Vietnamese peanut topping or spring roll fillers and Chinese Szechuan sauces and egg rolls
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein and vegetable protein
  • Vegetarian meat substitutes

Other possible hidden sources of Peanuts

  • Almond & hazelnut paste, marzipan, nougat
  • Baked goods
  • Chili
  • Cereals
  • Desserts
  • Dried salad dressings and soup mixes
  • Icing, glazes
  • Snack foods, for example, trail mixes such as GORP (“Good Old Raisins and Peanuts”)

Non-food sources of Peanuts
These are not eaten but can cause Anaphylactic Shock in people who are very sensitive to Peanuts

  • Arts and crafts materials
  • Ant baits, bird feed, mouse traps and pet food
  • Cosmetics and sunscreens
  • Medications and vitamins
  • Mushroom growing “soil”
  • Stuffing in children’s toys

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Sesame Allergy:

About Sesame Allergy:
For some people, Sesame is a source of dangerous, urgent and potentially deadly, allergic reactions requiring immediate medical intervention. Anaphylactic Shock could occur in consumers who are allergic to Sesame within a very short time, potentially leading to severe injury and/or death. If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center.

Other non-obvious names for Sesame Seed or Sesame-based ingredients:

  • Benne, Benne Seed and Benniseed;
  • Gingelly and Gingelly oil;
  • Sesamol and Sesamolina; Sesamum Indicum;
  • Sim Sim; and
  • Til.

Foods that can contain hidden Sesame:

  • Bread (including hamburger buns, multi-grains), bread crumbs and sticks, cereals, crackers, melba toast and muesli
  • Dips and spreads, for example, hummus, chutney
  • Flavored rice, flavoured noodles, shish kebab, stews and stir fries
  • Sesame oil, sesame salt (“gomasio”)
  • Tahina
  • Tahini (sesame paste)
  • Tempeh
  • Veggie burgers

Other possible food-based sources of Sesame:

  • Baked goods
  • Herbs, seasonings, flavourings and spices
  • Salad dressings, gravies, marinades, salads, sauces and soups
  • Snack foods, for example, crackers, sesame snap bars
  • Vegetable Oil (these may contain sesame oil)
  • Vegetable Pâtés

Common non-food sources of Sesame:

  • Adhesive bandages including bandaids
  • Cosmetics, hair care products, perfumes, soaps and sunscreens
  • Drugs
  • Fungicides and insecticides
  • Lubricants, ointments and topical oils
  • Pet food
  • Sesame meal such as poultry and livestock feed

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Soy Allergy:

About Soy Allergy:
For some people, foods made from soy ingredients pose serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. Worse still, it may not necessarily sound as if they are derived from either of these food products.

Many foods, for example, have soy-based ingredients including edamame (soybeans in pods), hydrolyzed soy protein, miso, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, tamari, tempeh, teriyaki sauce, textured vegetable protein (“TVP”) and tofu. In addition, lax labeling laws in many countries allow manufacturers to use (but not declare) small amounts of soy in “artificial flavoring”, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable broth and others.

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Sulfite/Sulphite Sensitivity:

About Sulfites/Sulphites sensitivity:
Sulfites/sulphites are substances that naturally occur within our own body and in some foods, especially in fruit-based foods and drinks. In many countries, they are also regulated food additives used as preservatives to maintain food color, prolong shelf life, prevent bacterial and fungal growth and to maintain the potency of some drugs and other medications. In the US, current labeling regulations do not require products to indicate the presence of sulfites in foods unless they are added specifically as a preservative. That said, many companies in the US  and Canada routinely label sulfite-containing foods to prevent sensitivity reactions. This is not necessarily true for imported foods, especially those from Asian countries.

Sulfites occur naturally in all wines to some extent but they are commonly introduced to control and mediate the fermentation process. They can also be added to wine during its production as a preservative to prevent spoilage and oxidation. For example, sulfur dioxide (technically not a sulfite but a closely related chemical oxide) is commonly used to protect wine from rancidity and bacterial contamination. Without sulfites, for example, grape juice would quickly turn to vinegar.

Organic wines are not necessarily free of sulfites but generally have lower levels than their commercial counterparts because no additional sulfites are added during production. In general, white wines contain more sulfites than red wines and sweeter wines typically contain more sulfites than dryer ones.

Sulfites are also used to bleach food starches (particularly potatoes) and are also used in the production of some food packaging materials (such as cellophane, the clear plastic wrap used to protect produce used at the industrial and consumer levels).

How can you tell if sulfites are in your food and/or drink?
Sulfites commonly added to foods include: potassium bisulphite, potassium metabisulphite, sodium bisulphite, sodium dithionite, sodium metabisulphite, sodium sulphite/sodium sulfite, sulfur dioxide/sulphur dioxide and sulfurous/sulphurous acid. Although these chemical names can by used on product packaging labels, it is also possible to see them in their more common names: sulfites, sulphites, sulfiting agents or sulphiting agents.

In the United States, wines bottled after mid-1987 must have a warning label stating they contain sulfites if they contain more than 10 parts per million of the compound. In 1986, the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) banned the addition of sulfites to all fresh fruit and vegetables destined to be eaten raw such as those found in salad bars. Sulfites are still used, however, as preservatives in dried fruits, preserved radish and dried potato products.

Although sulfites do not cause a true allergic reaction, people with sulfite-sensitivity may experience similar reactions and risks as those with true food allergies. People with Asthma in particular, are most at risk to sulfite sensitivity and other forms of sulfite reactions. An emergency inhaler can be required after ingestion.

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Tree Nut Allergy

About Tree Nut Allergy:
For some people, Tree Nuts (including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, chestnuts, filberts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts) are a source of dangerous, urgent and potentially deadly, allergic reactions requiring immediate medical intervention. If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center.

Foods that often contain hidden Tree Nuts:

  • Calisson (a marzipan-like candy made from almonds)
  • Gianduja and giandula (chocolate treats based hazel nuts)
  • Marzipan (treats typically made from almond paste)
  • Restaurant meals such as Almond Chicken, Pad Thai, Satay, Chili and Trout Amandine
  • Tree nut oils
  • Pralines (treats typically made from pecans)
  • Prepared spreads such as almond paste-based spreads, cheese spreads, chocolate nut spreads such as Nutella
  • Nougat (sugar paste made with nuts), for example, Torrone
  • Vegetarian dishes such as nut or veggie burgers

Other possible hidden sources of Tree Nuts:

  • Baked goods, especially in-store bakery items where ingredients may not be listed
  • Baking mixes, cereals, crackers and muesli
  • Barbecue and pesto sauces
  • Dressings and gravies
  • Flavored coffees, especially aromatic blends
  • Frozen desserts
  • Liqueurs, for example, Amaretto and Frangelico
  • Natural flavorings and extracts, for example, Pure Almond Extract
  • Salads with dressings and/or garnishes such as Waldorf salad
  • Snack foods, for example, trail mix or GORP (see Peanut and Groundnut Allergy)

Non-food sources of Tree Nuts:
These are not eaten but can cause Anaphylactic Shock in people who are very sensitive to Tree Nuts.

  • Bean bags, kick sacks and hacky sacks used by kids or young adults
  • Birdseed
  • Cosmetics, hair care products, sun screens
  • Massage oils
  • Pet food

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


Wheat & Barley Allergy:

About Wheat and Barley Allergy:
For some people, wheat and wheat-derived products and/or barley and barley-derived products can be a source of urgent, dangerous and potentially deadly, allergic reactions. Due to modern food manufacturing methods, wheat or barley products may not “look” or “sound” like wheat or barley and these ingredients may not be listed on the product label. Anaphylactic Shock can occur in consumers who are allergic to Barley or Wheat within a very short time, potentially leading to severe injury and/or death. If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center.

Foods that often contain hidden Wheat or Barley

  • Atta
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Flour
  • Farina
  • Fu
  • Graham, high-gluten and high-protein flour
  • Kamut
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Spelt (dinkel, farro)

 Other possible hidden sources of Wheat or Barley

  • Breads and baked goods, cake mixes, powder and flour
  • Beer (wheat should be an assumed ingredient in all beers)
  • Cereal-based coffee substitutes such as chicory or barley
  • Chicken and beef broth, including cans, vacuum-packed boxes and bouillon cubes)
  • Falafel
  • Gluten
  • Host (communion, altar bread and wafers)
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Imitation bacon
  • Pie fillings and puddings
  • Sauces, including chutney, soy and tamari sauce
  • Seasonings

Other possible sources of Wheat

  • Deli meats, hot dogs and surimi
  • Gelatinized starch, modified starch and food starch
  • Ice cream
  • Ketchup, mustard and other condiments
  • Salad dressings
  • Snack foods, including crackers and cereals

Non-food sources of Wheat
These products are not designed to be eaten but can cause Anaphylactic Shock in people who are very sensitive to Wheat

  • Cosmetics and hair-care products
  • Medications and vitamins (non-medicinal ingredients including fillers can be made from wheat)
  • Modeling compounds such as Play-Doh
  • Pet food (wheat is often used as a “stretcher” to make the main meat or fish ingredients go further)
  • Wreath decorations

Suspect Anaphylactic Shock?
If you suspect Anaphylactic Shock, call 9-1-1 (in North America), 9-9-9 (in the UK and Ireland), 0-0-0 (in Australia), 1-1-1 (in New Zealand) or other local emergency number for immediate transport to a medical center. If trained and an emergency kit is available, it may be appropriate to give an injectable drug such as Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) to the affected individual. Trade names of these products include EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick, Anapen, Jext, Allerject and Auvi-Q. Please note: even patients who are apparently stabilized should still go to hospital for emergency evaluation. Further treatment is often necessary.

Please Note: The above material is for informational use only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Please contact your primary care physician or local hospital ER if you feel sick.
E. & O. E.

 


 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: