Reading Labels and Possible Exceptions

Since most of my problem foods are among the 8 most common allergens, many times a quick scan for the major allergens is enough to reject a food product. For example, any mention of milk, tree nuts, or shrimp, and it’s out. But if it mentions wheat (gluten) or soy, I look further.

If the soy is in the form of soy lecithin or soybean oil, I can have it. Protein content in lecithin and commercial oils are so low that most people with allergies will tolerate these.

If the only source of wheat and soy is soy sauce, I can usually have it. Gluten content in commercial soy sauce is under 20 ppm for most brands and I can tolerate small amounts.

Of course this all depends on one’s sensitivity level, but knowing these exceptions can open up quite a few more options.

Fermented Soy

Soy decreases allergenicity when fermented, which might be meaningful if you are allergic or intolerant to soy. 

But less well known, some are allergic to fermented soy but okay with soy. 

There is a study on late onset anaphylaxis with natto allergic. Unusual in that it is IgE mediated but triggered only when it reaches the intestines, taking a mean of 8 hours.

I am not okay with soy but my reaction is much worse with raw fermented soy. I suspect it is the difference between soy protein intolerance versus mold (aspergillus) allergy. If I didn’t have the latter I might have tolerated small amounts of fermented soy, such as that of a typical condiment serving size, which would have opened up some more flavor adventures, alas.