Food Allergy

NIAID is the lead institute at the National Institutes of Health conducting research on food allergy, a condition that affects approximately 8 percent of children and nearly 11 percent of adults in the United States. In a person with food allergy, the immune system reacts abnormally to a component of a food, sometimes producing a severe and life-threatening response.

NIAID support for food allergy research encompasses basic research in allergy and immunology, epidemiological and observational studies to identify risk factors, and clinical trials of new strategies for prevention and treatment. Read on to learn more about food allergy and the steps NIAID is taking to address this growing problem.

Why Is the Study of Food Allergy a Priority for NIAID?

Food allergy prevalence appears to be rising and has become a serious public health issue. People with food allergy are told to avoid the allergen, as there is no cure for their condition. The risk of having a potentially life-threatening allergic response to accidental food-allergen exposure makes avoidance difficult and stressful for the individual, their family and their caregivers.

For people with multiple food allergies; allergies to ubiquitous foods such as milk, egg or wheat; or who live in disadvantaged communities, avoiding food allergens can be especially difficult and can affect the nutritional adequacy of their diet. Read more about why NIAID prioritizes food allergy research.

How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?

NIAID is investing in research to prevent food allergy and to treat people who are already affected.

The institute was one of several sponsors of Finding a Path to Safety in Food Allergy, a comprehensive food allergy research, treatment, and policy report issued in November 2016 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

Clinical Trials

NIAID and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct ongoing clinical trials on food allergies and other allergic conditions. Read more about the active clinical trials below:

Related Public Health and Government Information

If you have a food allergy and need practical ways to avoid packaged products that contain food allergens, the Food and Drug Administration provides advice and information.

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