LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A new study shows an uptick in food allergy medical claims nationwide, and California ranked among the top of the list for new diagnoses.

A Journal of American Medical Association report revealed 26 million Americans are facing life with food allergies.

More worrisome is the prevalence of potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis reactions to food allergies: up 377 percent in the U.S. Those results came from a Food Allergy Research and Development study that spanned nine years and ended in 2016.

Ann Thomas said she collects restaurant menus, citing the need to protect her family.

“Our 5-year-old grandson has a peanut allergy. Whenever we go out to eat, we have to make sure the restaurant or facility is totally peanut free,” Thomas said.

Peanuts top the list of foods more people are allergic to, followed by tree nuts, seeds, eggs, shellfish and milk.

Due to her grandson’s peanut allergy, Thomas reads the fine print.

“You read every single ingredient on every single product you bring in your house,” he said. “If it has a ‘may contain’ statement that’s when you know it’s much safer ’cause it may contain nuts is definitely, you just stay away from it.”

Thomas’ grandson has a lot of company: two-thirds of all food allergies are found in those 18 and under, and more boys are impacted than girls.

Over 18, just the opposite: more women have food allergies than men.

Companies that produce food are aware of the massive allergy issue facing millions of Americans and they take precautions.

“Everyone took it very seriously ’cause there is financial liability at stake along with people’s health,”


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