Scared to Shop for Those With Allergies? Here’s Your Guide

May 15, 2015

A great reference to use when shopping to avoid the top eight allergens.

Shopping for someone or even for yourself with a food allergy in mind is not always easy and can get very confusing even if you are familiar with what to avoid. Here is a great reference to use when shopping to avoid the top eight allergens, calling out the hidden sources, click the links to get the full 101 on each.

Milk: What are some hidden sources of milk? Always double check when shopping for: deli meat slicers, which are frequently used for both meat and cheese products. Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein as well as other non-dairy products. Check for casein listed on the ingredient label. Some meats may also contain casein as a binder, so ask!  For more click here. 

Tree nuts: What to look for on labels? Avoid foods that contain nuts or any of these ingredients: artificial nuts, beechnut, butternut, chinquapin, filbert/hazelnut, ginkgo nut, hickory nut, litchi/lichee/lychee, marzipan/almond paste, Nangai nut, natural nut extract (e.g. almond), nut butters (e.g. cashew butter), nut meal, nut meat, nut paste, nut pieces, pecan, pesto, pili nut, pine nut (also referred to as Indian, pignoli, pigñolia, pignon, piñon, and pinyon nut), pistachio, praline, and shea nut.  For the full guide click here.

Shellfish: What to look for when shopping? Those with shellfish allergies are advised to strictly avoid seafood and seafood products, even seafood restaurants. Reading ingredient labels is key and additionally those with highly sensitive shellfish allergies should avoid touching shellfish, going to the fish market, and being in an area where shellfish are being cooked (the protein in the steam may present a risk).  For the full list click here.

Fish: Some unexpected sources of fish include, salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce, dressings, bouillabaisse, imitation fish or shellfish, meatloaf, fish sticks, and barbecue sauce (some are made with Worcestershire). Those with a fish allergy should be mindful of the many products that boast omega-3s, as some of the omegas do come from fish and shellfish. If you are looking to boost your omega-3 intake look for vegetarian sources of omegas like chia seeds, hemp, and flaxseeds. For more on how to shop with a fish allergy click here.

Wheat: Hidden sources of wheat may include: glucose syrup, soy sauce, and starch (gelatinized starch, modified starch, modified food starch, vegetable starch).  Some types of imitation crabmeat contain wheat; wheat flour is sometimes flavored and shaped to look like beef, pork, and shrimp, especially in Asian dishes. For the full list and how to shop with a wheat allergy click here

Soy: What foods or ingredients should you avoid? Edamame, miso, natto, shoyu, soy (soy albumin, soy cheese, soy fiber, soy flour, soy grits, soy ice cream, soy milk, soy nuts, soy sprouts, soy yogurt), soya, soybean (curd, granules), soy protein (concentrate, hydrolyzed, isolate), soy sauce, tamari, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP), and tofu. For the full guide click here.

Eggs: Hidden sources of egg can possibly include: the foam on the top of coffee or bar drinks, some egg substitutes, most commercially processed cooked pastas- including those used in prepared foods such as canned soup. Boxed, dry pastas are usually egg-free, but may be processed on equipment that is also used for egg-containing products, which some may have to avoid depending on the allergy. Egg wash is sometimes used on pretzels and pies to make a shiny appealing coating. For more click here. 

Peanut: What to look for on labels? Avoid products that contain peanuts or: Artificial nuts, beer nuts, cold pressed, expeller pressed, or extruded peanut oil, goobers, ground nuts, mixed nuts, monkey nuts, nut meat, nut pieces, peanut butter, peanut flour, peanut protein hydrolysate and arachis oil.  For the complete how to shop for peanut allergies click here.