I know of someone who has peanut, tree nut, soy and shellfish allergies.
Are these proteins airborne?
In other words, is it okay to cook items free of allergens in the same oven as items containing the above mentioned allergens as long as food items don't physically come into contact with each other?
Hi infonolan - best practice dictates that you evaluate risk before preparing or cooking allergens alongside food that you want it to be free of allergens. The short answer is that some allergens will be airborne and others not.
Proteins vary in size and nature, some may be small and light, others bound into the natural complexes of nature. Cooking may or may not release these so it is best to err on the safe side in most cases if there are people who will consume food who may be susceptible..
Many allergens are in the air. Worldwide, airborne allergens cause the most problems for people with allergies. The respiratory symptoms of asthma, which affect approximately 11 million Americans, are often provoked by airborne allergens.
Common Airborne Allergens
Pollen is a mass of tiny grains produced by plants to reproduce. Among North American plants, weeds are the most prolific producers of allergenic pollen. Ragweed is the major culprit, but other important sources are sagebrush, redroot pigweed, lamb's quarters, Russian thistle (tumbleweed), and English plantain. Grasses and trees, too, are important sources of allergenic pollens. Although more than 1,000 species of grass grow in North America, only a few produce highly allergenic pollen.
A pollen count is a measure of how much pollen is in the air. The National Allergy Bureau has approximately 78 counting stations throughout the United States. The daily results are reported here.
The allergy to pollen is known as hay fever.
Molds are a kind of fungi. The seeds or reproductive pieces of fungi are called spores. Spores differ in size, shape, and color among types of mold. They float in the air like pollen. When inhaled, tiny mold spores may cause allergic rhinitis. Because they are so small, mold spores also can reach the lungs.
Molds can be found wherever there is moisture, oxygen, and a source of the few other chemicals they need. In the fall, they grow on rotting logs and fallen leaves, especially in moist, shady areas. In gardens they can be found in compost piles and on certain grasses and weeds. Hot spots of mold growth in the home include bathrooms, damp basements and closets.
Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in the dust found in all dwellings and workplaces. House dust, as well as some house furnishings, contains microscopic mites. Dust mites are perhaps the most common cause of perennial allergic rhinitis.
Household pets are the most common source of allergic reactions to animals. Many people think that pet allergy is provoked by the fur of cats and dogs. Researchers have found, however, that the major allergens are proteins in the saliva. These proteins stick to the fur when the animal licks itself.
Urine is also a source of allergy-causing proteins, as is the skin. When the substance carrying the proteins dries, the proteins can then float into the air.
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