With different allergies in people spread across the globe, there are eight foods and food groups that represent the most common of all allergies—what are known as the “Big Eight.” In the USA and also the UK, governing food bodies require food manufacturers to list these eight common allergens on their food labels.
1. Milk Allergy
Cow’s milk and all food products—including butter, buttermilk, cheese, cream cheese, cream, half and half, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, pudding, sour cream—made from it. Plus, many (but not all) people who are allergic to cow’s milk are sensitive to proteins in goat’s milk and sheep’s milk too.
2. Egg Allergy
Eggs. Some people are so sensitive to egg proteins that cooking fumes can stoke an allergic reaction.
3. Peanut Allergy
Peanut butter, mixed nuts, beer nuts, peanut oil. Experts often caution those with peanut allergies to avoid tree nuts, due to cross-contamination risks. Plus, about one-third of those with an allergy to peanuts (which are legumes like beans) have or will develop an allergy to one or more true nuts, which grow on trees.
4. Tree Nut Allergy
Walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, and more.
Note: Experts often caution those with tree-nut allergies to avoid peanuts too. (See explanation above.)
5. Fish Allergy
Fish including tuna, salmon, catfish, and more. Experts often caution those allergic to fish to be aware of cross-contamination risks of eating shellfish and other seafood.
6. Shellfish Allergy
Shrimp, crab, lobster, crawfish, and more. Experts often caution those allergic to fish to be aware of cross-contamination risks of eating fish and other seafood.
7. Soy Allergy
Soymilk, tofu, tempeh, edamame, soybeans, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, soy nuts, TVP or textured vegetable protein (defatted soy flour), tamari, miso.
8. Wheat Allergy
Wheat-based pastas, cereals, breads, bran; wheat germ, wheat berries, semolina (a type of wheat used to make pasta), kamut (used in cereals, crackers and pasta), bulgur, seitan.