What Are the Most Frequent Food Allergens?

You can be allergic to any food, but some allergies are more common than others. There are many foods that are known to have caused severe allergic reactions but in Australia 90 per cent of food-related allergies come down to these 10: 


Peanuts are a common cause of food allergy. It is important to understand that peanuts are a legume and from a different family of plants to tree nuts. A peanut allergy does not automatically mean an allergy to tree nuts although it is not uncommon to be allergic to both peanuts and some tree nuts.

Tree nuts

Tree nuts considered as allergens include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts (pignolias), pistachio nuts and walnuts. People who are allergic to tree nuts usually avoid all nuts and peanuts because of the risk of cross contamination.


Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children and is far more common in young children than in adults. Most children eventually outgrow an allergy to egg. The proteins in eggs from chickens are similar to those found in other eggs such as duck, geese, quail and other birds or fowl. Therefore, people who are allergic to eggs from chickens may also experience reactions to the eggs from other animals. Having an egg allergy can mean being allergic to all forms of egg (well-cooked, loosely cooked and raw) or only to loosely cooked and raw egg. 


Milk allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in cow’s milk. Cow’s milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies to affect babies and young children. Fortunately, most children will grow out of their Cow’s Milk Allergy in early childhood usually by the time they reach around 5 years of age. For others, a milk allergy can be a lifelong condition.


Wheat allergy is most common in children and is usually outgrown before adulthood.

Children with a wheat allergy must avoid wheat in all forms.


Sesame is a flowering plant that produces edible seeds. Sesame is a common ingredient in many foods around the world, from baked goods to sushi. To prevent a reaction, it is very important to avoid sesame however sesame ingredients can be listed by many uncommon names and is also found in non-food items such as cosmetics.


Allergies to fish are usually lifelong conditions. People who are allergic to one type of seafood, may not be allergic to other kinds of seafood. Many people are only allergic to a single type of seafood. Fish and shellfish are not related so being allergic to one does not always mean that you must avoid both. For example, some people can eat prawns safely, but have allergic reactions to fish.


Crustaceans and molluscs, sometimes collectively referred to as shellfish. Crustaceans include crab, crayfish, lobster, prawns, and shrimp. Most molluscs have a hinged two-part shell and include clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops but can also include various types of octopus, snail, and squid. Allergies to shellfish are usually lifelong. Many people are only allergic to a single type of seafood. For example, some people can eat fish safely, but will have allergic reactions to shellfish like lobster or crab.


Soy comes from soybeans, a type of legume. Soybeans can be made into flour, soy milk, tofu, oil, and other products. Being allergic to soy does not mean you have a greater chance of being allergic to another legume, including peanut. A soy allergy is most common in infants, and many children do outgrow soy allergy. However, soy allergy can also be a lifelong condition.

Remember, it only takes a tiny bit of one of these foods to cause a life-threatening reaction.