Food Allergies

Janis Hunter
Home & Garden Information Center

A food allergy is an abnormal reaction to food, even a very small amount. The body's disease-fighting (immune) system mistakenly thinks the food is harmful and produces antibodies for protection. This response triggers the release of a body chemical such as histamine. Within minutes (or in up to two hours) the person may begin to feel sick due to unpleasant reactions on the skin, in the digestive tract, the respiratory system or the cardiovascular system. Food protein, which causes the allergic reaction, is not broken down during digestion or by cooking.

For more detailed information about food allergies, see HGIC 4158, Food Allergies.

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