Health & Beauty

Food Hypersensitivities

Food plays an important role in our society. Food is much more than eating. Food is enjoying good times together. However, enjoying good food cannot be taken for granted. For people who live with food hypersensitivities food can be quite threatening. Life threatening even. Becoming ill from food that should be good for you, or worse.

In a society in which food plays an important part, not much attention is given to food hypersensitivities. Even though the number of people living with food hypersensitivities is increasing fast. I would like to change that. I make good food available to everyone, also those who live with food hypersensitivities. That is why starting January 2013, you’ll find new recipes every month on my Love My Salad page. Recipes for wonderful salads, but without the most common food allergens.

Food Hypersensitivity
is the official term for food allergy and food intolerance. In short, having a food hyper sensitivity means food that should be good for you, makes you ill.

What happens?
In the case of a food allergy, the immune system is involved: it’s an adverse immune response caused by food proteins. The proteins causing the reaction are called allergens.

In case of a food intolerance, the immune system is not involved. Adverse reactions occur in different ways. Adverse reactions could be caused by a deficiency or absence of certain enzymes. Components of food causing a non-allergic adverse reaction, are called triggers. Examples of food intolerances are gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance and lactose intolerance.

Symptoms and signs of food allergy and food intolerance have many similarities. There are also some differences:
- in case of a food allergy reactions can occur rapidly within minutes or a few hours after consuming
- in case of a food intolerance there can be a delay between consuming and reaction. This is why it is often difficult to determine to which food one suffers an adverse reaction. Also, this is difficult to test.
- in case of a food allergy a very small amount (a drop or crumb even) can cause a severe allergic reaction.
- in case of a food intolerance a small amount of a food can be tolerated but symptoms particularly occur when larger quantities are consumed.
- mostly symptoms that occur in case of food intolerance are milder than symptoms that occur in case of food allergy.

Food hypersensitivity is personal, meaning that every person has his or her own specific symptoms and reactions to foods. Also, one can react in a different way to different foods and the severity of symptoms can differ per person per food.

In any case of food hypersensitivity avoidance is the only cure.

Guidelines for labelling allergens
The proteins causing the reaction are called allergens. An individual can be allergic to any kind of food, however in several world countries, ‘top’ food allergens have been determined, responsible for the most common adverse reactions to foods. In Europe, guidelines have been determined, regarding labelling of these ‘top’ allergens. A few other countries outside of the European Union have also determined guidelines regarding labelling of allergens. Worldwide, there are large differences regarding allergen legislation but also regarding foods which are considered to be the most common allergens. However, a few allergens such as milk and peanut, are named on every list.

Most common allergens in Europe
The following list shows the most common allergens in Europe (including Switzerland). These ‘top’ food allergens must be named on food labels, according to the guidelines.

- gluten containing grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut)
- shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster)
- eggs
- fish
- soy
- peanut
- milk
- tree nuts ( almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, pecan nuts, brazil nuts, pistachio, macadamia
- celery (all kinds)
- mustard
- sesame seeds
- sulphur dioxide and sulphites
- lupine
- shellfish like oysters, mussels and snails

All recipes you’ll find on my Love My Salad page, will be free of at least these top allergens. Culinary greetings, Larisse Find translations for allergy terms

sources: Stichting Voedselallergie, Allergenen Consultancy, World Allergy Organization

Food Hypersensitivities

Salad story by



Salad blogger / food writer

Cooking, baking and writing recipes has long been my passion and I spend quite a few hours in my kitchen. In 2010 I started my company Larisse® and later that year my first cookbook, ‘Lekker... Read more

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