A person can be allergic to virtually any food. While only eight (milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish) account for about 90 percent of all reactions, allergic reactions have been reported to many other foods.
While far from complete, this list gives an overview of some less common food allergies.
Allergic reactions to corn are very rare. But the relatively small number of case reports that appear in medical literature show that reactions to corn can occur. Reactions can result from both raw and cooked corn. People who are allergic to corn should seek personalized guidance from their allergist.
Allergies to meats, such as beef, chicken, mutton or pork, are also rare. A person who is allergic to one type of meat may not need to avoid other types of meat. Heating and cooking meat can make the product less likely to cause a reaction.
If you have a cow’s milk allergy, you may wonder: Should I also avoid beef? This is usually not necessary, as the majority of those allergic to milk can safely eat beef products. However, one study showed that almost 8 percent of the 62 children with milk allergy studied also reacted to beef. The study also suggests that well-cooked beef is less likely to be a problem for those allergic to milk.
Similarly, people with egg allergy generally don’t need to also avoid poultry, and vice versa.
Some people with allergy to mammalian meat experience allergic symptoms 3 to 6 hours after ingesting beef, pork or lamb. This type of meat allergy has been attributed to a type of sugar in meat called “Alpha-Gal.” This allergy has been traced to having had tick bites.
Gelatin is a protein that forms when an animal’s skin or connective tissue is boiled. Although rare, allergic reactions to gelatin have been reported.
Allergy to gelatin is a common cause of an allergic reaction to vaccines, many of which contain porcine (pig) gelatin as a stabilizer. If you have experienced symptoms of an allergic reaction after eating gelatin, talk to your healthcare provider before getting vaccinated. People with a known severe gelatin allergy should avoid vaccines that contain gelatin.
Allergic reactions to seeds can be severe. Sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds have been known to cause anaphylaxis.
The number of people affected by seed allergy is unknown. A study published in 2010, however, concluded that 0.1 percent of the general population may have a sesame allergy. (That’s hundreds of thousands of Americans.) The researchers of this study, from New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, based their findings on a national survey that focused on the prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergy.
Seeds are often used in bakery and bread products, and extracts of some seeds have been found in hair care products.
Some seed oils are highly refined, a process that removes the allergy-causing proteins from the oil. But as not all seed oils are highly refined, individuals with a seed allergy should be careful when eating foods prepared with seed oils.
Allergies to spices, such as coriander, garlic and mustard, are rare. These allergic reactions to spices are usually mild, although severe reactions have been reported.
Some spices cross-react with mugwort and birch pollen. People who are sensitive to these environmental allergens are at a higher risk for developing a spice allergy.
Fruits and Vegetables
Allergic reactions to fresh fruits and vegetables—such as apple, carrot, peach, plum, tomato and banana—are often diagnosed as Oral Allergy Syndrome.
Other Common (Non-Food) Allergens
What to Read Next
Managing life with a food allergy means reading packaged food labels—every time you purchase that food.