Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Before food allergies, you probably never turned your box of cereal around to check out the ingredients. Now, you find yourself struggling in the middle of the grocery store trying to figure out what you can eat for breakfast without having a reaction. We’re here to help.
Some of the most common food allergens include milk, egg, peanut, soy, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish, sesame, and fish, but if you have any food allergies, this is for you.
Let’s start with a nutrition label. You will find that all ingredients are listed in order of largest to smallest quantity within a product. This section is filled with ingredients you know and love and use all the time when cooking at home as well as ingredients that look like another language to you.
Sometimes, *note* SOMETIMES, you will find allergen information listed at the bottom of the ingredients paragraph as seen above. CONTAINS PEANUT INGREDIENTS should be the first indicator for a person with a peanut allergy. This section is generally the first area of a nutrition label that we read, because reading through ingredients that are difficult to pronounce is more time consuming than simply checking out the allergen section of the label. The lack of an allergen portion of the ingredient section DOES NOT mean that you are free and safe to use the product. In fact, if an allergen portion is not present, we recommend reading through the entirety of the ingredients to ensure you do not find anything that you could react to.
Another item of interest in the allergen portion of a nutrition label is the portion that follows the words “may contain” or “processed in a facility with products containing” or “manufactured on shared equipment with”. If you are severely allergic to a food listed in this area, we recommend you avoid this product. While it is likely you will be just fine eating this product, the potential for an allergic reaction is there. Those with minor allergies to listed foods should also avoid these products as going without or finding alternatives will be better for your overall health.