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Roasting may reduce but not abolish hazelnut allergenicity. No such information is available for other nuts, but it is unlikely that heating will destroy their allergenicity.



Some wheat allergens can be destroyed by heating, while some are thermostable.


Other allergens

The fish protein parvalbumin remains stable during cooking. Other allergens are also likely to remain a problem even after heating. These include shellfish, sesame, soya and mustard. In the case of celery, allergic reactions occur predominantly to the raw vegetable but some people react to cooked celery even after high temperatures are used.


The food matrix

As well as heating, the food matrix in which the allergenic proteins exist is also important. A high fat content conceals the proteins so that there may be no warning symptoms on oral contact and the allergic person may consume larger quantities. This may lead to more severe reactions during digestion. For example, nut products in chocolate or Oriental meals may pose a particular risk.



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Heating and processing of allergens

The proteins in food – the components that trigger allergic reactions – are modified by heating and processing. But different foods are modified in different ways.



U.S. research has shown that 75 per cent of children with milk allergy don’t have a problem with extensively heated milk. The rest are likely to react to milk whether heated or not. The researchers believe a simple blood test could be applied in clinics to distinguish between the two groups of children. They stress that experimenting at home is not an option.



Cooking can destroy some of the allergens in egg, but not all of them. There are people who are allergic even to well-cooked egg and these are the ones for whom egg allergy is more likely to be severe. Others can tolerate eggs if they have been cooked. These are the ones who are more likely to outgrow egg allergy


Peanuts and tree nuts

The main proteins in peanut that trigger allergic reactions are very robust during heating and processing and there is no reduction in allergenicity. Roasting actually increases the allergenicity of peanuts, while boiling and frying them may render them less of a problem.

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