Introduction to Food Allergies

Food is an important part of our work culture. We celebrate holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions by coming together with our colleagues for a potluck meal and dessert. We meet customers at restaurants to network and seal the deal. We attend conferences and eat the lunch that is included in the registration fee. All of these things can affect the environment in which we work if we are one of the 15 million Americans who have food allergies.i

A food allergy is a medical condition in which exposure to a food triggers a harmful immune response. An immune response occurs when the immune system views normally harmless proteins in the food as intruders and attacks. These proteins are called allergens. The eight major food allergens – milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish – result in most of the serious food allergy reactions in the United States. In severe cases, allergic reactions can cause anaphylactic shock, difficulty swallowing or breathing, asthma, and death.ii

Is a Food Allergy Considered a Disability under