A food allergen challenge is a procedure where small and incremental amounts of a particular food are fed to a person while under medical supervision, and monitored to determine if the food being tested causes an allergic reaction in the person.
Most food allergen challenges involve a time period of about 2 to 3 hours to eat the required doses of food, followed by 2 hours of medical observation.
Occasionally the food is given in one serving for rare types of food allergy, such as Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES).
If an allergic reaction occurs, the challenge:
- May take longer.
- Is usually stopped and if necessary, treatment for the allergic reaction is given.
- Is usually called 'positive' and the person is diagnosed as allergic to the food.
If the challenge is completed without an allergic reaction:
- It is called 'negative'.
- The person will then be asked to regularly include the food in their diet.
For more information see ASCIA Food allergen challenges FAQs
Content updated December 2016