A recent surge in media coverage of food allergies and their effects has meant that more people are becoming aware of the issue.

With food allergies, such as peanut allergies, affecting a larger number of Americans, restaurants and food makers are becoming more aware and more willing to label and cater to those who cannot eat certain foods.

The top eight food allergens are dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. Many restaurants now feature menus or menu sections that showcase dairy-free, egg-substitute, gluten-free and nut-free items.

Although these are not always prepared in allergen-free environments, they are usually prepared in such a way that those with all but the most severe of allergies will not likely be affected by the food.

As always, caveat emptor – ask first.

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