The prevalence and distribution of food sensitization in European adults

P. G J Burney, J. Potts, I. Kummeling, E. N C Mills, M. Clausen, R. Dubakiene, L. Barreales, C. Fernandez-Perez, M. Fernandez-Rivas, T. M. Le, A. C. Knulst, M. L. Kowalski, J. Lidholm, B. K. Ballmer-Weber, C. Braun-Fahlander, T. Mustakov, T. Kralimarkova, T. Popov, A. Sakellariou, N. G. PapadopoulosS. A. Versteeg, L. Zuidmeer, J. H. Akkerdaas, K. Hoffmann-Sommergruber, R. Van Ree

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Complaints of 'food allergy' are increasing. Standardized surveys of IgE sensitization to foods are still uncommon and multicountry surveys are rare. We have assessed IgE sensitization to food-associated allergens in different regions of Europe using a common protocol. Methods: Participants from general populations aged 20-54 years in eight European centres (Zurich, Madrid, Utrecht, Lodz, Sophia, Athens, Reykjavik and Vilnius) were asked whether they had allergic symptoms associated with specific foods. Weighted samples of those with and without allergic symptoms then completed a longer questionnaire and donated serum for IgE analysis by ImmunoCAP for 24 foods, 6 aeroallergens and, by allergen microarray, for 48 individual food proteins. Results: The prevalence of IgE sensitization to foods ranged from 23.6% to 6.6%. The least common IgE sensitizations were to fish (0.2%), milk (0.8%) and egg (0.9%), and the most common were to hazelnut (9.3%), peach (7.9%) and apple (6.5%). The order of prevalence of IgE sensitization against different foods was similar in each centre and correlated with the prevalence of the pollen-associated allergens Bet v 1 and Bet v 2 (r = 0.86). IgE sensitization to plant allergen components unrelated to pollen allergens was more evenly distributed and independent of pollen IgE sensitization (r = -0.10). The most common foods containing allergens not cross-reacting with pollens were sesame, shrimp and hazelnut. Discussion: IgE sensitization to foods is common, but varies widely and is predominantly related to IgE sensitization to pollen allergens. IgE sensitization to food allergens not cross-reacting with pollens is rare and more evenly distributed. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)365-371
    Number of pages6
    JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
    Issue number3
    Early online date26 Dec 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


    • adults
    • Europe
    • food hypersensitivity
    • microarray analysis
    • prevalence


    Dive into the research topics of 'The prevalence and distribution of food sensitization in European adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this