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Allergies are not fun. And some allergic reactions can be life-threatening. When owning a restaurant, food allergies should be a serious consideration. With hundreds of customers coming in and out of your establishment, you would never know who has a food allergy just by looking at them. While anyone can have an allergy to anything, there are a few select products that are more likely to cause a reaction than others. The top allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, eggs, wheat, cow’s milk, and soy.

But it’s not as cut-and-dry as “Oh, so they just can’t drink milk or eat a peanut!” Food allergens can be hidden within ingredients. Also, it’s important to realize that different food types can be categorized in specific food allergen groups. Here is a list of the common foods containing each allergen;

Peanuts

Peanuts can be found as whole pieces, peanut butter, mixed nuts, peanut oil, lupine, and more.

Tree nuts

Tree nut allergens include a wide array of nuts, including almond, pecan, cashew, pistachio, macadamia, walnut, and many more. Some unlikely sources of these nuts include flavored coffees, cereals, crackers, marzipan, nut butters, pesto, cold cuts, ice creams, baked goods, as well as certain alcoholic beverages like gin and amaretto.

Shellfish

Shrimp, lobster, crab, prawns, crawfish, and krill are the main ones.

Fish

This list can be expansive, but the major ones include tuna, salmon, swordfish, haddock, halibut.

Eggs

Eggs, while easy to spot in whole, are also found in salad dressings, mayonnaise, ice cream, and many baked goods.

Wheat

Wheat can be found in bread, pasta, flour, crackers, cereals, wheat grass, and many more items. Other unexpected sources include beer, soy sauce, and breaded foods.

Cow’s milk

Cow’s milk can mainly be found in milk, butter, cream, and cheese.

Soy

Tofu, soybeans, soy sauce, miso, tamari, and other ingredients containing soybean oil.

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