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Food Allergy and Intolerance

Toxicology of Specific Groups of Substances

  1. Martinus Løvik MD, PhD Professor of Medicine1,2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat163

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Løvik, M. 2009. Food Allergy and Intolerance. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Department of Environmental Immunology, Division of Environmental Medicine, Nydalen, Oslo, Norway

  2. 2

    Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Trondheim, Norway

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


Food allergy is caused by immunologically mediated over-reactivity against food components, and may be IgE mediated or non-IgE mediated. The most serious form and the one of concern for regulatory authorities, is IgE-mediated food allergy. Food intolerances often have unknown mechanisms. However, lactose intolerance and fructose intolerance are caused by known enzyme deficiencies, and gluten intolerance is caused by an autoimmune reaction elicited by gluten protein. IgE-mediated food allergy often occurs together with skin allergy and respiratory allergy. The diagnosis of food allergy rests on three pillars: the case history, the demonstration of a specific IgE against the food in serum or by skin-prick testing, and food challenge. Testing alone will grossly overestimate the presence of a clinically manifest food allergy. The diagnosis of food allergy is often difficult and resource-demanding. Food allergy is most common in small children, but may be underestimated in young adults. There are geographical variations with regard to prevalence and which foods represent the most common allergens. Epidemiological data on food allergy are often uncertain. No validated animal models of food allergy exist. Prediction of allergenicity of a new protein depends on the overall weight of evidence derived from several sources, including comparison to known allergens in allergen databases.


  • food allergy;
  • diagnosis;
  • symptoms;
  • prevalence;
  • food allergen;
  • allergenicity;
  • animal model;
  • gluten intolerance;
  • lactose intolerance;
  • fructose intolerance