Top 8 Food Allergens

The Top 8 Food Allergens are the most common foods that cause allergies in people. Since my daughter is allergic to some, but not all of the top 8 foods, I will list the specific allergens that are excluded from my recipes by using the term, “free from”.

Some of my recipes will be free from all eight allergens and/or nine allergens including sesame. If this is the case, I will indicate that the recipe is “top 8 free” and sesame free.

Sesame is not considered to be a top 8 allergen although the FDA is looking at including it as the top 9 food allergen. By law, the FDA is required to list ingredients under the umbrella of top 8 allergens. For people allergic to sesame, it makes purchasing food challenging as many labels will use the term “spices or natural flavorings” and sometimes sesame may be hidden under this labeling. You can read more about it here.

The Top 8 Food Allergens include:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts( including but not limited to: Almonds, Brazil, Cashews, Hazelnut or Filbert, Walnuts, Pecan, Pistachio, Macadamia, Pine Nuts, Shea Nut)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat


  • Coconut is technically a fruit although the FDA has currently classified it as a tree nut.
  • People can be allergic to any foods outside the top 8 food allergens