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Meal Pattern Minute: Top 9 Food Allergens

May 10, 2024

Food allergies are immune system reactions triggered by consuming certain foods, causing symptoms ranging from mild itching to life-threatening anaphylaxis. These reactions occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies specific proteins in food as harmful, leading to an exaggerated response. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identifies nine major food allergens that Child and Adult Care Food Program providers should be made aware of as these are the more common allergens that you may find at your facility with those in your care.

Learn what the nine major food allergens are and a mnemonic device to help remember them by listening in to this Meal Pattern Minute with Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD.

Below are valuable resources to review and use in your center or family child care home.

Need help identifying food allergens? Here is a great mnemonic device to help you remember the current nine major food allergens.

Food Allergies – USDA Technical Assistance & Guidance

  • FNS’s Office of Food Safety works collaboratively with the Institute of Child Nutrition to develop and provide food safety resources for child nutrition professionals including food allergy training and best practices fact sheets and posters.

Visit the National CACFP Sponsors Association’s Learning Center for webinars pertaining to food allergens and specials diets. 

  • A growing database filled with free and on-demand web-based trainings to help CACFP providers and sponsors expand their knowledge of the CACFP.
  • Get started on learning about special diets and food allergens by reviewing NCA’s training plan. There are many more webinars available and we encourage you to explore other trainings available!

Did you know that there are many allergen-friendly recipes available on our Recipes and Menus page? You can find not only recipes, but also sample menus to provide new ideas for your planning.

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