The 14 Major Allergens

The way allergens are labelled on prepacked foods has changed. The 14 major allergens must be labelled when they are used as ingredients in food as they could cause serious allergic reactions for people who consume them. Below are the 14 allergens and examples of where they may be found.

1.) Celery – Celery stalks, leaves, seeds and the celeriac root. These can be found in celery salt, salads, on some meat products, soups and stock cubes

2.) Cereals Containing Gluten – Wheat, rye, barley and oats are often found in foods containing flour, some types of baking powder, batter, breadcrumbs, bread, cakes, couscous, meat products, pasta, pastry, sauces, soups and various fried foods (using flour).

3.) Crustaceans – These are crabs, lobster, prawns and scampi. One ingredient to look out for is shrimp paste that’s often used in Thai and south-east Asian curries/salads.

4.) Eggs – Often used in cakes, mayonnaise, some meat products, pasta, quiche, mousses, sauces and pastries. Some foods are also often brushed or glazed with egg.

5.) Fish – Fish ingredients are often found in sauces, pizzas, relishes, dressings, stock cubes and Worcestershire sauce.

6.) Lupin – Lupin is found in flour; lupin flowers and seeds can be used in types of bread, pastries and even in pasta.

7.) Milk – found in butter, cheese, cream, yoghurts and used often as milk powder. Can also be found in foods brushed or glazed with milk, in powdered soups and sauces.

8.) Molluscs – these are mussels, land snails, squid and whelks. Also commonly found in oyster sauces or fish stews/soups.

9.) Mustard – This includes liquid mustard, mustard powder and mustard seeds. Often used in breads, curries, marinades, meat products, salad dressings, sauces and soups.

10.) Nuts – Not to be mistaken with peanuts which are actually a legume and grow underground. This refers to nuts grown on trees such as cashews, almonds and hazelnuts. Nuts are used in breads, biscuits, crackers, desserts, curries (as powder form), stir-fried dishes, ice cream, marzipan, nut oils and sauces.

11.) Peanuts – These are actually classed as a legume as they grow underground. Peanuts can be used in biscuits, cakes, curries, desserts, sauces (satay sauce), as well as in groundnut oil and peanut flour.

12.) Sesame Seeds – tend to be found in bread and sprinkled on rolls, breadsticks, houmous, sesame oil and tahini. Sometimes also toasted and used in salads.

13.) Soya – Soya is a staple ingredient in oriental food, found in bean curd, edamame beans, miso paste, textured soya protein, soya flour or tofu. Can also be used in desserts, ice cream, dairy alternative foods, vegetarian foods, meat products and sauces.

14.) Sulphur Dioxide (Sulphites) – Can be used in dried fruit such as raisins, dried apricots and prunes. May also be found in meat products, soft drinks, vegetables, wine and beer. Those that suffer from asthma have a higher risk of developing a reaction to sulphur dioxide.

For more information, visit the website or the NHS allergy page.

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