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An allergen is a substance which can cause an allergic reaction. Food is one of the most common allergens, but in actual fact it is specific food components (proteins) that are recognized by the immune system and could set off such a reaction. These allergenic proteins are usually very stable even when heated (exceptions exist), which is why allergenic foods remain so even after cooking.
When a person being allergic to a given food, it is obvioulsy essential to avoid it completely. This is not always easy because much of the North American diet comes from processed foods, which main contain allergens.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is an agency designed to help you understand and manage the risks associated with food allergens. It is important that you know what steps to take to protect yourself or protect the people around you who have food allergies. That document provides specific information on the nine allergens most likely to cause allergic reactions.
Here are some allergen free recipes to get you started: