Myths & Truths about Food Allergies
Myth: Peanut Allergy is the most common allergen.
Fact: Peanut allergy is the third most
common in children, ranking behind milk and egg;
peanut allergy is the fourth most common allergy
in adults, falling behind milk, egg and
In perspective, the
American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) statistics
show that 6.6 million people are allergic to
seafood, and more than 3 million people report being
allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or both (Sicherer,
2003) (Munoz-Furlong, 2004).
Myth: Peanut oil has allergenic properties.
Fact: Highly refined peanut oil is safe for
most people with peanut allergy because the
allergenic protein has been destroyed (aromatic
peanut oil contains peanut protein and is
therefore allergenic to those with a peanut
allergy) (FARRP, 2010).
Myth: Airborne exposure can cause anaphylaxis.
Fact: Scientific evidence demonstrates that
ingestion of a food allergen must occur in order
for it to cause anaphylaxis; this means that
peanut proteins must be swallowed, rubbed in an
eye or stuck up a nose. There is no scientific
evidence that breathing peanut fumes or dust can
cause anaphylaxis (Sicherer, 2003).
Myth: Every exposure to peanut protein can increase
the severity of future reactions.
Fact: Symptoms vary from episode to episode.
The severity of a reaction is dependent on many
factors, including: the amount of allergenic
protein one is exposed to, route of exposure,
current medical state and age.
Myth: Other nuts and nut butters are safe for those
with a peanut allergy.
Fact: Most immunologists recommend that
people with a peanut allergy also avoid tree
nuts due to the risk of cross-reactivity between
Myth: Don’t feed potentially allergenic foods to
children until they are 2 years old.
Fact: The National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID) suggests that the
introduction of solid foods should not be delayed
beyond 4 to 6 months of age and potentially
allergenic foods may be introduced at this time as
well. In addition, NIAID does not recommend
restricting maternal diet during pregnancy or
lactation for preventing the development of food
allergy in children. (NIAID, The Guidelines for the
Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy 2010).