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Biotechnol Adv. 2005 Sep;23(6):409-14.

Food allergy and its relevance to industrial food proteins.

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  • 1Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, NR4 7UA, UK.


Food allergies can be defined as IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions and are quite distinct from food intolerances, such as Coeliac disease, with symptoms usually appearing within a matter of minutes of exposure. Around 1-2% of adults and up to 5-7% of children suffer from some type of food allergy with foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy, cow's milk, egg, fish and shellfish being responsible for the majority of reactions. The macromolecules recognised by IgE (generally proteinaceous in nature) are termed allergens. A brief description of the allergenic components present in the major allergenic foods is given followed by a short discussion regarding their importance in industrial proteins in the light of recent food labelling legislation for allergens.

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