Oral food challenge (OFC) is the gold standard for diagnosis of IgE-mediated and non-IgE mediated food allergy. It is usually conducted to make diagnosis, to monitor for resolution of a food allergy, or to identify the threshold of responsiveness. Clinical history and lab tests have poor diagnostic accuracy and they are not sufficient to make a strict diagnosis of food allergy. Higher concentrations of food-specific IgE or larger allergy prick skin test wheal sizes correlate with an increased likelihood of a reaction upon ingestion. Several cut-off values, to make a diagnosis of some food allergies (e.g., milk, egg, peanut, etc.) without performing an OFC, have been suggested, but their use is still debated. The oral food challenge should be carried out by experienced physicians in a proper environment equipped for emergency, in order to carefully assess symptoms and signs and correctly manage any possible allergic reaction. This review does not intend to analyse comprehensively all the issues related to the diagnosis of food allergies, but to summarize some practical information on the OFC procedure, as reported in a recent issue by The Expert Review of Food Allergy Committee of Italian Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology (SIAIP).
Keywords: double-blind; food allergens; food allergy; oral food challenge; placebo-controlled oral food challenge; single-blind.