What Does Allergy-Free Mean?

With food allergies on the rise, brands and recipe developers are using terms like “gluten-free”, “grain-free”, “soy-free”and more. But what do all of these claims represent and what ingredients are they actually avoiding? What does “allergy-free” and “allergy-friendly” even mean?

“Allergy-free” and “allergy-friendly” are claims most commonly placed on food products or recipes that are free from the eight most common food allergens in the United States, as declared by the FDA – wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish. But there’s more to these ingredients than meets the eye and if we dig a little deeper into these terms we find that “soy” refers to not only soybeans, but also soy sauce, soy lecithin, tamari, miso, tempeh and more.

Food allergies go above and beyond these eight seemingly simple ingredients. I’ve developed the following list which outlines how I, as a dietitian, define some of these complex claims. All recipes throughout this blog with the following designations are free from the listed ingredients.

allergy friendly recipes

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