What Are the Most Frequent Food Allergens?

Food allergies are most common in young children.

Milk, egg, wheat and soy allergies are often outgrown. But most people do not outgrow peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies.

Food allergies affect approximately 4 to 6 percent of children in the U.S. In 2015, 4.2 million children under 18 years of age had food allergies over the previous 12 months. Children with food allergies are two to four times more likely to have asthma or other allergic disease.

Food allergies occur at a lower rate in Hispanic children at 3.6 percent. Food allergies in non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black children are greater than 5 percent.

Eight foods cause 90 percent of most food allergy reactions:

  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Peanut
  • Tree nut (e.g., almonds, walnut, pecans, cashews, pistachios)
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  • Shellfish (e.g., crab, shrimp, scallop, clams)

Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish tend to persist lifelong. Allergies to milk, egg, wheat and soy often disappear with age, but not always.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.