Food Allergy Myths: True or False
1. MYTH— A food allergen can be cooked away if the temperature gets hot enough.
FALSE—Unlike microbiological risks, heating does not destroy allergens or lessen the risk of a reaction.
2.  MYTH— Peanuts are the same as tree nuts.
FALSE—Peanuts are a member of the legume family and grow underground, where as tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.), grown on trees. However, an estimated 25-40% of people with peanut allergies are allergic to tree nuts as well.
3.  MYTH— No need to worry when products state that they “may contain” an allergen on the label—they are just covering their legal bases.
FALSE—Experts advise that consumers should always take seriously any “may contain” warnings especially if they have severe reactions to their allergen.
4.  MYTH— If a popular food dish traditionally doesn’t contain certain allergens and/or the potential allergen isn’t listed on the menu description of a dish, it’s probably not added.
FALSE—Ask questions about ingredients and any food being served. Never assume anything about ingredients or food preparation. Here’s one example. Pizza usually doesn’t contain egg, but some pizza restaurants might use an egg wash on the crust.
5.  MYTH— I don’t need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector because my reaction has never been severe.
MAY BE FALSE FOR SOME PEOPLE—You might have a life threatening reaction to your “problem” food, even if you have never had a serious reaction before. Discuss this with your doctor or allergist to be sure.
6.  MYTH— If a customer with a food allergy doesn’t have a reaction to the meal while they are in your restaurant, they probably aren’t going to.
FALSE—A reaction can occur seconds to several hours after ingesting food containing an allergen.
7.  MYTH— If a customer with a food allergy is having GI (gastro-intestinal) symptoms like nausea and vomiting after eating their meal, it is likely unrelated to their food allergy.
FALSE—Allergic symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, along with the more recognized symptoms of skin rash, swelling of throat and lips, tickly throat, etc.
8. MYTH— Food allergens in the oil of a deep fryer from previously fried foods are destroyed because of the high temperature of the fry oil.
FALSE—Heating does not destroy allergens or lessen the risk of a reaction, even in a high temperature deep fryer. In fact, when a food is fried in a deep fryer, it is being exposed to all of the allergens present in any food cooked in that oil before it was fried.
9.  MYTH— Once you have a food allergy, you will have it for the rest of your life and conversely if you don’t have a food allergy as an adult, you will likely not develop one.
FALSE—Depending on the person and the food allergy, people sometimes grow out of their food allergy. Conversely, people can develop a food allergy at any age and have a reaction to a food that was well tolerated before.
10.  MYTH— Gluten is now the most common food intolerance.
FALSE—The most common intolerance is to lactose, a natural sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 10% of adults.