The Top 8 Hidden Food Dangers
Experts estimate that these foods cause 90 percent of food-allergy reactions.
Federal labeling laws require manufacturers to more clearly identify ingredients associated with the top eight food allergens. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network provides ingredient-reading cards that list unusual names and food sources for these allergens. Here's a sampling.
Alternate Names: Albumin, lysozyme, globulin, ovumucin, vitellin, Simplesse™ (found in low-fat foods)
Food Sources: Egg substitutes, mayonnaise
Alternate Names: Calcium, whey, lactose, casein
Food Sources: Cream, high-protein powder, sour cream, cottage cheese, cakes, puddings, hot chocolate, cheese, yogurt
Allergen: Fish or shellfish
Alternate Names: Agar, carrageenan
Food Sources: Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad, dressing, cod liver oil
Alternate Names: Guar gum, vegetable protein, lecithin, carob, starch, emulsifiers, flavorings, stabilizers
Food Sources: Vegetable broth or oil, tofu, soy sauce, tempeh, shortening, edamame, chorizo
Alternate Names: Gluten, semolina, modified food starch, MSG, vegetable gum
Food Sources: All-purpose flour, bleached flour, bran, American cheese, canned soup
Alternate Names: Natural and artificial flavoring (read labels carefully to identify what kinds of artificial flavors might be in a food product)
Food Sources: Ice cream, chocolate, gravy, marzipan, egg rolls, candy, cookies
Allergen: Tree nuts
Alternate Names: Cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts (also called filberts), pine nuts, pistachios, macadamias, natural and artificial flavoring (read labels carefully to identify what kinds of artificial flavors might be in a food product)
Food Sources: Barbecue sauce, crackers, ice cream, foods with peanuts (may be cross-contaminated with tree nuts)
Elissa Sonnenberg is an editor at Cincinnati Magazine, in Ohio.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, October 2005.
Updated May 2010
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.