A Growing Problem

More than 30 million people in the US and Europe currently live with food allergies.1-4 That number continues to grow.

In the US, a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room every three minutes,5 and food allergies cost about $4 billion per year in direct medical expenses.6

Life-Threatening Reactions

While more than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions, eight major food allergens are responsible for most of theserious food allergy reactions in the US7:

  • Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Tree nuts
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Crustacean shellfish

When exposed to a trigger food, allergic individuals can experience reactions ranging from mild to severe:

  • Mild—transient skin hives, tingling around the mouth, and gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Moderate—persistent hives, wheezing, abdominal discomfort, and increased vomiting
  • Severe—labored breathing and transient low blood pressure, which may require medical intervention and possibly hospitalization

In some cases, the allergic reaction can be life-threatening. Deaths, while rare, do occur.


Accidental exposure to trace amounts of food allergens from cross-contact can trigger severe allergic reactions. People with peanut allergies can be sensitive to the amount of peanut protein found in a fraction of a peanut kernel.

Focus Areas

Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies, affecting more than 6 million people in the US and Europe. It can be a lifelong condition that eight in 10 children will never outgrow.

Egg allergy mainly affects children ages 1 to 4 years and is the most common food allergy in China and Japan. Nearly 6 million people in the US, China, Japan, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy are allergic to eggs.

There is no cure for food allergies, and there are no approved medical treatments. For people living with food allergies, avoidance currently is the only option.

Living With Uncertainty

Accidental exposure can happen—research shows that one in five children with peanut allergy is rushed to the emergency room (ER) due to a reaction each year, which translates to about 40,000 ER visits annually. Accidental exposures can be traumatic for families, and the threat of a severe reaction can dominate families’ daily routine and interfere with their overall quality of life.8,9

Aimmune is developing treatments for food allergy using oral immunotherapy. Learn about our Pipeline.

1. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: report of the NIAID-sponsored expert panel. 2011. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/faguidelinespatient.pdf. Accessed July 18, 2019.
2. US Census Bureau. Quick facts. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/INC110217. Accessed July 18, 2019.
3. Gupta RS, Springston EE, Warrier MR, et al. The prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the United States. Pediatrics. 2011;128(1):e9-e17.
4. European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). Food allergy & anaphylaxis public declaration. https://www.eaaci.org/attachments/FoodAllergy&AnaphylaxisPublicDeclaration.pdf. Accessed July 1, 2019.
5. Clark S, Espinola J, Rudders SA, Banerji A, Camargo CA Jr. Frequency of US emergency department visits for food-related acute allergic reactions. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;127(3):682-683.
6. Gupta R, Holdford D, Bilaver L, Dyer A, Holl JL, Meltzer D. The economic impact of childhood food allergy in the United States. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(11):1026-1031.
7. FARE. https://www.foodallergy.org/
8. Cummings AJ, Knibb RC, King RM, Lucas JS. The psychosocial impact of food allergy and food hypersensitivity in children, adolescents and their families: a review. Allergy. 2010;65(8):933-945.
9. Flokstra-de Blok BM, Dubois AE, Vlieg-Boerstra BJ, et al. Health-related quality of life of food allergic patients: comparison with the general population and other diseases. Allergy. 2010;65(2):238-244.