The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists foods that often trigger allergies.

Millions of people in the U.S. have reactions to food each year. Most of the time, a food allergy is mild, but there is a chance that a reaction could be serious and even life-threatening. Since there is no known cure for food allergies, the best way to avoid a reaction is to not eat these foods.

List of Major Food Allergens

There are more than 160 foods that are known to cause allergic reactions in some people, but only eight foods cause 90 percent of all allergic reactions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made a list of these eight foods and has labeled them – or any ingredient that has protein derived from one of these foods – as major food allergens:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustacean shellfish
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

Some allergies, such as those to milk and eggs, often affect young children who grow out of the allergies as they get older. Other foods, such as peanuts, can cause a serious allergy reaction.

Serious Allergic Reactions

It is important that everyone knows that the eight foods on the FDA list can cause serious allergic reactions. Knowing what these foods are and the symptoms of an allergic reaction can save either your own or someone else’s life. According to the FDA, there are 30,000 emergency room visit, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths each year from the serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. When this happens, a person can suffocate from swelling in the throat and the inability to breathe.

Food allergies should always be taken seriously, even if they are mild. The FDA warns that mild symptoms can quickly turn into serious symptoms if they are not treated immediately. Anyone who is allergic to one of the eight foods on the list needs to carefully check food labels. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 requires manufacturers to clearly list any of the eight most common food allergens on food labels.

Even if a person has had only mild allergic reactions to peanuts or other foods, there is a chance that the next time that the food is eaten, the reaction could be far worse. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, AAAAI, more than half of children with a peanut allergy eventually have a life-threatening allergic reaction. This can occur even when a child has had a mild or moderation reaction before.

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