Food Allergies and Intolerances

Food Allergies and Intolerances


Allergic reactions to food can be mild or severe. Peanuts and tree nuts are known to cause severe reactions in some people.

While other food allergies aren’t usually as severe as peanut and tree nut allergies, they can cause significant discomfort. Milk, wheat and egg allergies can also be a challenge because they are found in many commonly consumed foods.

The Canadian allergen labeling regulations make it easier for people to identify products that contain these foods by clearly identifying the 10 priority allergens with the following statement “Contains: [name of ingredient]” in the ingredient list.


Food intolerances are not as serious as food allergies. One of the most common food intolerances is lactose or milk intolerance. Lactose is a type of sugar that occurs naturally in milk and some people do not digest it well. There is less lactose in cheese and yogurt.

Milk intolerance is not life-threatening, but it can cause an upset stomach and bloating. Children with milk intolerance can usually have small amounts of milk and foods that are made from milk, such as yogurt and cheese, without feeling uncomfortable. You may want to try lactose-free milk and soy milks if cows' milk makes you uncomfortable.

Ten top foods identified as "priority allergens" in Canada:

  1. Peanuts
  2. Tree nuts
  3. Milk
  4. Eggs
  5. Seafood
  6. Soy
  7. Wheat
  8. Sesame seeds
  9. Mustard
  10. Sulphites