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Food Allergies

Food Allergens
Major Food Allergens
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Food Allergens

Major food allergens

The major food allergens account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions. Major food allergens are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived.

The eight most common food allergens are:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

These eight foods, and any ingredient that contains protein derived from one or more of them, are designated as "major food allergens".

How major food allergens are listed on labels

U.S. law requires that food labels identify the food source of all major food allergens. Unless the food source of a major food allergen is part of the ingredient's common or usual name (or is already identified in the ingredient list), it must be included in one of two ways.

The name of the food source of a major food allergen must appear:

In parentheses following the name of the ingredient.
Examples: "lecithin (soy)," "flour (wheat)," and "whey (milk)"

– OR –

Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a "contains" statement.
Example: "Contains Wheat, Milk, and Soy."

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