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Food Allergens: Which Are Most And Least Familiar?

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Cybele Pascal shares the food allergens that many people do not realize can cause life-threatening reactions.

Cybele Pascal:
The top food allergens that most people are unaware of, I think that it’s actually which allergens are people unaware of the severity of? So people are aware, very aware of peanut allergies. People know that you can die if you are anaphylactic to peanuts and you’ll get a peanut, right? Even if you just got a little peanut in the air you can sometimes, if you’re severely anaphylactic you can die from that. So people are aware of that.

I think people are not aware of the fact that a child or an adult could be just as severely allergic to dairy. So I think people know the top allergens are dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, and in Canada they also include sesame in that list of top allergens responsible for 90% of food allergies. I think people are aware of those allergies or those allergens, they are just not aware of the fact that so many of them can be life-threatening.

So for example, I have a lot of friends who have kids who are anaphylactic to dairy and the school system doesn’t necessarily take it seriously because they think, “Well it’s not a peanut allergy; it’s not a tree nut allergy; it’s not a shellfish allergy; it’s just dairy or it is soy.” So I think it’s more about just a lack of awareness about how they all can actually be extremely severe and life threatening.

About Cybele Pascal:
Cybele Pascal is an award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and "The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook". When her son was diagnosed with severe food allergies in 2001, Cybele learned about allergen-free cooking and made it a priority to transform this cuisine into a delicacy. In addition to recipes she learned to prepare from her family, she spent fifteen years working in restaurants.

Visit Cybele Pascal at her website

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