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Myths and Facts: September Edition

MYTH: “Someone told me if I cook the food, it will kill the protein and I won’t be allergic to it.”

FACT: Cooking, even with high heat and other methods of food processing, does not reliably destroy food allergens, and doesn’t ensure safety for people with food allergies. Foods are complex mixtures, and how they respond to heat is not always predictable.

This also varies depending on the allergen. For example, certain people with milk and egg allergy can consume baked egg and baked milk safely when these allergens are partly destroyed by heating. But only some people with an allergy can tolerate cooked egg or milk (and this must be first tested in a clinical environment – not at home). Other allergens, such as peanut or tree nut, are not affected by heat for anyone with that allergy.

Bottom Line: You can’t cook all the allergens out of a food.

Note: Each month on our blog, we are featuring a common myth about food allergies, followed by the facts. Information for this month’s Fact was provided by Dr. Zainab Abdurrahman, MD, MMath, FRCPC, an allergist at Kindercare Pediatrics Clinic in Toronto and at McMaster Childrens’ Hospital in Hamilton.