Specific food allergens

A food that causes an allergy is called an allergen. An allergen will affect a food-allergic person every time they eat it. Sometimes, only a tiny trace can trigger a reaction. There are around 160 food allergens.

The 8 allergens listed below are responsible for 90% of all allergic reactions to foods.

  • egg
  • milk
  • peanut
  • soy
  • fish
  • seafood
  • wheat
  • tree nuts.

Egg and milk allergies are the most common food allergies among infants but are often outgrown. Shellfish allergy is more common among adults than children. Peanut allergy is equally common among children and adults.

Potential contamination of Cumin in the US and Europe

6 March 2015

The Ministry for Primary Industries is aware of the potential contamination of cumin with peanut and almond protein in the United States and Europe. There have been a number of product recalls in the United States and Europe for food products containing this contaminated cumin. The recalls involve products known to contain unlabelled peanut or almond proteins, due to concerns for allergy sufferers.  At this stage the recalls pertain to the United States and Europe only.

As part of its usual processes, MPI has investigated the origin of cumin coming into New Zealand by contacting importers of cumin and spices and liaising directly with US food safety authorities. To date, there is no evidence that any contaminated cumin has been imported into New Zealand.

If we receive evidence that potentially affected cumin is entering New Zealand, or that there is enough risk that it is, we will take all appropriate action, including warning the public. This is in-keeping with our usual processes in place to protect New Zealand from potentially risky food imports.

As more information from our investigation comes to light, we will update this page and, where appropriate, take further action to communicate evidence based advice.