Common Food Allergies


A peanut allergy is very common and could cause a serious and possibly fatal reaction. If a guest has a peanut allergy you should avoid any kind of nut, even artificial. Also be mindful of dishes that may be cooked in peanut oil.

Some unexpected sources of peanuts:

  • Chili
  • Egg rolls
  • Hot sauce
  • Pesto
  • Gravy
  • Salad dressing
  • Pancakes
  • Specialty pizzas
  • Some vegetarian food products advertised as meat substitutes


A milk allergy is different than lactose intolerance and is most common in infants and young children, although most will outgrow the allergy. Cow milk and products should be avoided, as reactions can be mild, such as hives, and sometimes life threatening. It is also wise to avoid milk from all other animals.

Some unexpected sources of milk:

  • Baked goods
  • Luncheon meat, hot dogs, sausages
  • Nondairy products (look for casein)
  • Shellfish is sometimes dipped in milk to mask the odor
  • Restaurants sometimes put butter on steaks for flavor


Egg allergies are the second most common childhood allergy and most children will outgrow it. Reactions can be mild, such as hives, and sometimes life threatening. Eggs from other birds should also be avoided.

Some unexpected sources of eggs:

  • Egg substitutes
  • Macaroni
  • Marzipan
  • Lecithin
  • Marshmallows
  • Pasta
  • Pretzels are sometimes dipped in egg wash before they are salted


Not to be confused with gluten intolerance, wheat allergies can be mild or life threatening. Many people with wheat allergies can tolerate other grains, but it’s safe to stay away from them if you don’t know for sure.

Some unexpected sources of wheat:

  • Couscous
  • Cracker meal
  • Flour
  • Glucose syrup
  • Soy sauce
  • Starch
  • Beer
  • Processed meat
  • Salad dressing
  • Ice cream
  • Potato chips
  • Hot dogs
  • Imitation crabmeat


Soy is another common infant and childhood allergy that is often outgrown. Soy allergies can be mild or severe, though severe reactions are rare.

Some unexpected sources of soy:

  • Canned tuna and meat
  • Cereals
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • High-protein energy bars and snacks
  • Low-fat peanut butter
  • Processed meats
  • Sauces
  • Canned broths and soups


People with fish allergies are most commonly allergic to salmon, tuna and halibut, although it is advised to avoid all fish. Many people who are allergic to finned fish are not allergic to shellfish. Be advised that fish protein can become airborne in the steam released while cooking.

Some unexpected sources of fish:

  • Caesar dressing
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Bouillabaisse
  • Imitation fish or shellfish
  • Meatloaf
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Caponata (Sicilian eggplant relish)


Shrimp, crab and lobster cause most shellfish allergies and 60% of people with this allergy experienced their first reaction as an adult. There are two kinds of shellfish: crustacean (shrimp, crab and lobster) and mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops). Most shellfish reactions tend to be severe. It is also best to avoid all shellfish if there is an allergic reaction to any of them.

Shellfish to avoid:

  • Barnacle
  • Crab
  • Crawfish
  • Krill
  • Lobster
  • Prawns
  • Shrimp

Mollusks shellfish to avoid:

  • Abalone
  • Clams
  • Cockle
  • Cuttlefish
  • Limpet
  • Mussels
  • Octopus
  • Oysters
  • Periwinkle
  • Sea cucumber
  • Sea urchin
  • Scallops
  • Snails
  • Squid
  • Whelk

For more information on food allergies, please visit:

Come Dine Together

Author: Come Dine Together