All About Food Allergies and Allergens

August 2, 2016

An allergen is a substance which can cause an allergic reaction. Food is one of the most common allergens, but in actual fact it is specific food components (proteins) that are recognized by the immune system and could set off such a reaction. These allergenic proteins are usually very stable even when heated (exceptions exist), which is why allergenic foods remain so even after cooking.

How to avoid an allergic reaction?

When a person being allergic to a given food, it is obvioulsy essential to avoid it completely. This is not always easy because much of the North American diet comes from processed foods, which main contain allergens.

  • Read the product labels carefully and avoid foods containing the allergen and any of its derivatives, even when the label says “may contain traces”.
  • Check the label for synonyms of allergens (see the list, in french)
  • Always have your medication handy, such as a disposable epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen™)

Common Food Allergies – How to manage risks

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is an agency designed to help you understand and manage the risks associated with food allergens. It is important that you know what steps to take to protect yourself or protect the people around you who have food allergies. That document provides specific information on the nine allergens most likely to cause allergic reactions.

Here are some allergen free recipes to get you started:

Egg-Free Recipes

Blue Cheese Burgers

Blue Cheese Burgers

Shellfish-Free Recipes

Teriyaki Pork Chops

Teriyaki Pork Chops

Nut and Peanut Free Recipes

Brownies with Dates and Coconut

Brownies with Dates and Coconut



2 comments to “All About Food Allergies and Allergens”

October 18, 2016 Marianne said:

Under “Nut & Peanut Free” is a recipe containing coconut?

Cinzia Cuneo
October 21, 2016 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Marianne,
Coconut does not belong to the “nut” family. Hence recipes containing coconut are labeled “Nut & Peanut Free”.

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