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Facts on Food Allergies

  • The food or substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen.
  • There is no cure for allergies.
  • It is best to completely avoid the food or substance that triggers the allergic reaction.
  • Some allergies may be outgrown, although some will remain for life.
  • Allergic reactions are slightly more common in children and those with a family history of allergies.
  • Celiac disease is not a food allergy. It is an intolerance to gluten in wheat, barley, rye, triticale and foods containing these grains. Although it’s not an allergen, it is still very important for people with Celiac disease to avoid these grains.

The nine most common food allergens in Canada are:

  • peanuts
  • tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts [filberts], macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts [pignolias], pistachio nuts, and walnuts)
  • sesame seeds
  • milk
  • eggs
  • fish (including shellfish and crustaceans
  • soy
  • wheat
  • sulphites

It is possible to develop an allergy to other foods not on this list, including vegetables and fruits. All allergies and intolerances should be treated seriously and individualized plans should be set up to manage them safely.

Even very small, ‘hidden’ amounts of a food can cause a severe reaction. It’s important to know which children are at risk of serious reactions to trace amounts of specific foods.

For more information see the Priority Food Allergens printable fact sheets from Food Allergy Canada.

Last modified: February 19, 2020