Learn about anaphylaxis and more
Both food 'allergies' and 'intolerances' are types of sensitivity to food. However, they are very different in nature and severity. Allergies to food can be very serious and may cause a potentially life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen within a few minutes of eating a food product.
Food intolerance is less severe and doesn't involve the immune system, but nevertheless can make us ill or have long-term health affects.
The symptoms of food allergies can include:
- dry, itchy throat and tongue
- itchy skin or rash
- nausea and feeling bloated
- diarrhoea and/or vomiting
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- swelling of the lips and throat
- runny or blocked nose
- sore, red and itchy eyes
- faintness and collapse
It is important that friends, family and colleagues know when you are suffering an allergic reaction to food, as urgent action is vital.
Some examples of foods which can cause allergic reactions:
- tree nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia
- crustaceans (including prawns, crab and lobster)
- sesame seeds
- cereals containing gluten (including wheat, rye, barley and oats)
- sulphites and sulphur dioxide (preservatives used in some foods and drinks) at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre
Latest allergy alerts
For those who suffer from food allergies it is crucial that you receive the correct information regarding food labelling and ingredients. Where a food item has been withdrawn from sale, for example, due to incorrect or insufficient labelling, receiving this information quickly can be very beneficial.
Guidance for food businesses (including interactive learning tool)