42. Food Allergens

  1. Benjamin K. Simpson Ph.D.
  1. J. I. Boye Ph.D.1,
  2. A. O. Danquah Ph.D.2,
  3. Cin Lam Thang3 and
  4. X. Zhao Ph.D.3

Published Online: 26 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118308035.ch42

Food Biochemistry and Food Processing, Second Edition

Food Biochemistry and Food Processing, Second Edition

How to Cite

Boye, J. I., Danquah, A. O., Lam Thang, C. and Zhao, X. (2012) Food Allergens, in Food Biochemistry and Food Processing, Second Edition (ed B. K. Simpson), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118308035.ch42

Editor Information

  1. Department of Food Science & Agricultural Chemistry, McGill University, Macdonald Campus, 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, H9X 3V9, Canada

Author Information

  1. 1

    Food Research and Development Centre Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 3600 Casavant Blvd. West St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, J2S 8E3, Canada

  2. 2

    Department of Home Science University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

  3. 3

    Department of Animal Science, McGill University (Macdonald Campus) 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Ste. Anne de Bellevue Quebec, H9X 3V9, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 APR 2012
  2. Published Print: 8 JUN 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780813808741

Online ISBN: 9781118308035



  • food allergens, and food allergy management;
  • food hypersensitivity;
  • food value chain, allergen management;
  • food allergy, immunological reaction;
  • immediate hypersensitivity;
  • metabolic food disorders, and genetic deficiencies;
  • delayed hypersensitivity reactions;
  • anaphylactoid responses, non-immunologic chemical mediators;
  • major milk allergens;
  • DNA-based food allergen detection methods


The management of allergens along the food value chain and the diagnosis of food allergic diseases continue to pose serious challenges to the food industry as well as health care professionals. Of the over 170 foods known to provoke allergic reactions, nine foods (and their derived products) are today considered to be major allergens accounting for over 90% of all food allergic reactions. These priority allergens include milk, eggs, soya beans, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts and hickory nuts), seafood such as fish (i.e. both saltwater and freshwater finfish), crustaceans (e.g. shrimp, prawns, crab, lobster and crayfish) and molluscs (e.g. snails, oysters, clams, squid, octopus and cuttle- fish), gluten-containing cereals (i.e. wheat, rye, barley and their hybridised strains and products), sesame and mustard. Symptoms of food allergic reactions and the threshold dose required to provoke allergic reaction markedly vary among sensitised individuals. Food production practices, processing conditions and matrix effects can also modify the molecular structure of food allergens and their potential immunogenic properties which can make allergens diffi- cult to detect even when present in foods. This chapter provides an overview of the different types of food hypersensitivities including a distinction between food allergies and food intolerance, the properties of the nine priority food allergens, current approaches for the management of food allergens and a summary of some of the current methods used in food allergen detection.