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Food Allergy is most common in children but also occurs in adults. Typical symptoms of food allergy include vomiting, swelling of the lips, tongue, throat and eyelids as well as hives. Reactions can be life-threatening in some people.  Symptoms usually appear within thirty minutes after eating the offending food. Delayed  symptoms, and the fact that foods are rarely eaten alone can cause difficulty identifying the responsible food. Some people with food allergy have only symptoms of a digestive disturbance such as cramps or diarrhea. The foods most responsible for food allergy include peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk eggs and shell fish. Many reactions to foods are not caused by allergy.

Symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating can be caused by the inability to digest lactose, a sugar in milk products. Diarrhea and weight loss can by caused by inability to digest and absorb gluten, a protein found in various grains. More abrupt and violent reactions to foods can be caused by bacterial contamination and toxins due to improper handling or inadequate refrigeration. Testing for food allergy should not be performed except to confirm a suspected allergy. Blood tests such as RAST give many false positive reactions, especially in people with atopic dermatitis. Skin testing gives more accurate and clinically significant results.
 
The "gold standard"  for diagnosis is a food challenge, but the physician must be prepared for a severe allergic reaction. IgG has not been shown to play a role in food allergy. IgG antibodies are present in normal people without digestive disease and  is of unknown significance. The Oral Allergy Syndrome or Pollen-Food Allergy syndrome is a type of food allergy  of short duration, with symptoms limited only to the mouth and lips upon contact with certain fruits, tree nuts and vegetables. It occurs in people who are allergic to various types of pollens, especially birch and mugwort. These mild oral reactions occur because substances in the pollen are distantly related and widely distributed  to proteins in many foods. The mouth develops a weak allergic reaction as if it were in contact with pollen.
 
Raw foods are more likely to cause these symptoms than cooked foods. Fortunately, this type of food allergy is more annoying than a serious health threat. Preservatives and food colorings have been blamed but rarely proven to cause allergic reactions. Children with atopic dermatitis are frequently found to have unsuspected food allergies that have the potential to worsen the rash.