Food allergy: review, classification and diagnosis

Allergol Int. 2009 Dec;58(4):457-66. doi: 10.2332/allergolint.09-RAI-0138. Epub 2009 Oct 25.


Food allergies, defined as an immune response to food proteins, affect as many as 8% of young children and 2% of adults in westernized countries, and their prevalence appears to be rising like all allergic diseases. In addition to well-recognized urticaria and anaphylaxis triggered by IgE antibody-mediated immune responses, there is an increasing recognition of cell-mediated disorders such as eosinophilic esophagitis and food protein-induced enterocolitis. New knowledge is being developed on the pathogenesis of both IgE and non-IgE mediated disease. Currently, management of food allergies consists of educating the patient to avoid ingesting the responsible allergen and initiating therapy if ingestion occurs. However, novel strategies are being studied, including sublingual/oral immunotherapy and others with a hope for future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Sublingual
  • Animals
  • Enterocolitis
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Esophagitis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / classification*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism*
  • Immunotherapy
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Urticaria


  • Immunoglobulin E