Food allergy information for healthcare providers

To help identify potential food allergies, Labcorp offers profiles that focus on the small number of allergens that cause a high percentage of true food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, fruits, vegetables, sesame seed, soy or wheat.

 

Get more details with reflex testing

If a respiratory or food allergy is suspected, primary care providers can order an allergy profile with reflex components.

With one blood sample, a respiratory profile can be selected based on the patient's geographic location or a food allergen profile with reflex components. There’s no need to select individual allergens to test—it’s as simple as ordering a cholesterol or blood sugar panel.

Interpreting IgE results: Important notes for providers

Although the use of component IgE testing may enhance the evaluation of potentially allergic individuals over the use of whole extracts alone, it cannot yet replace clinical history or oral food challenge in most cases. Clinical history, patient's age, and presence of comorbidities (such as atopic dermatitis) must be incorporated into the diagnostic determination.

If a food is tolerated in the patient's diet on a regular basis, detectable food-specific IgE does not confer allergy to that food.5 If allergy to a specific food is suspected based on clinical history, an undetectable food-specific IgE does not exclude allergy to that food.

Blood-based specific IgE allergy testing helps inform a diagnosis

Diagnostic accuracy rarely exceeds 50% if a primary care provider relies on a patient’s allergy history without testing.8

Food allergy information for patients

Know the difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy

A food sensitivity, often called a food intolerance, may have similar symptoms as a food allergy, but there are a few key differences.

  • A food sensitivity is typically a reaction in the digestive system or gastrointestinal tract that can cause stomach upset and discomfort
  • Having a food sensitivity (not a food allergy) means you can likely eat small amounts of the food without triggering symptoms
  • A food sensitivity is not reliably detected by at-home food sensitivity tests
  • Food sensitivity tests cannot indicate a disease, are not proven and cannot make a diagnosis7

A food allergy can be more serious and may involve an allergic reaction in the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system or the respiratory tract. Common symptoms are: 3

 

  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy mouth or lips
  • Hives or rash
  • Wheezing
  • Repetitive cough
  • Tight, hoarse throat; trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of the tongue and/or face, affecting the ability to talk or breathe

Anaphylaxis is one of the most serious indications of a food allergy and can be life-threatening. It usually occurs within minutes of exposure to a food allergen. Sometimes, however, it can happen a half-hour or longer after exposure. Signs and symptoms include: 4
 

  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Wheezing
  • Repetitive cough
  • Tight, hoarse throat; trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of the tongue and/or face, affecting the ability to talk or breathe

Understand how your body reacts to the most common food allergens.

The Labcorp food allergy blood test measures your immune response to some of the most common foods known to trigger an allergic reaction. These include:

  • Egg white
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Codfish
  • Clam
  • Shrimp
  • Scallop
  • Peanut
  • Walnut
  • Soybean
  • Sesame seed

What to expect with a food allergy test

Available at your primary care provider’s office, a specialist’s office, through Labcorp OnDemand or at a Labcorp patient service center, you can get a blood-based specific IgE allergy test that:

  • Only requires a single blood draw
  • Is appropriate for children 3 months of age and older
  • Is not affected by prescription or over-the-counter medications

Along with a medical exam and discussion with your doctor, the results for our food allergy blood test can help your healthcare provider or specialist make a diagnosis and determine if you need additional testing or if you should avoid a food altogether.

References

  1. Gupta, R. S., Warren, C. M., Smith, B. M., Blumenstock, J. A., Jiang, J., Davis, M. M., & Nadeau, K. C. (2018). The Public Health Impact of Parent-Reported Childhood Food Allergies in the United States. Pediatrics. 142(6).
  2. Williams PB, Ahlstedt S, Barnes JH, Söderström L, Portnoy J. Are our impressions of allergy test performances correct? Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003 Jul;91(1):26-33. doi: 10.1016/s1081-1206(10)62054-6. PMID: 12877445.
  3. Food Allergies: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. ACAAI Public Website. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/ Accessed 15 Sept. 2022
  4. Anaphylaxis. Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351468 Accessed 15 Sept. 2022
  5. Waserman, S, Bégin, P, and Watson, W. IgE-Mediated Food AllergyAllergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 12 Sep 2018; 14(Suppl 2):55.
  6. Boyce, JA et al. Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Report of the NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010; 126:S1-58.
  7. European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). Position Statement: AAAAI support of the EAACI Position Paper on IgG4. May 2010. https://www.aaaai.org/Aaaai/media/Media-Library-PDFs/Tools%20for%20the%20Public/Conditions%20Library/Library%20-%20Allergies/eacci-igg4-2010.pdf Accessed 15 Sept. 2022
  8. Yawn, BP et al. The Need to Improve Outcomes for People with Asthma in Primary Care and Health Systems: Beyond Adding More Pharmacotherapy. Sept 2018. https://www.thermofisher.com/diagnostic-education/dam/hcp/global/english/documents/allergy/The-Allergy-and-Asthma-Task-Force-Recommendations.pdf. Accessed 15 Sept. 2022