More than a quarter of a million Quebecers live with food allergies

  • It is estimated that approximately 300,000 people in Quebec have food allergies, representing 4% of the province’s population. Health Canada’s estimates are even higher:

According to a recent publication [i], approximately 7% of Canadians self-report a food allergy. However, fewer are likely to have a physician-diagnosed food allergy, which are estimated at prevalence levels up to 5-6% for young children and 3-4% for adults in westernized countries [ii] [iii].

  • 40,000 children in Quebec elementary schools have food allergies [iv].
  • 7% of Quebec families have at least one allergic person (parents, family, friends, office colleagues, business partners, etc.) [v].
  • The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec estimates that 6% of babies, 3% of children aged 10 years and over, and approximately 1 to 2% of adults are affected by one or more food allergies. [vi]

Food allergies can be caused by a wide variety of foods

  • Nine foods are responsible for more than 90% of allergic reactions: cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, nuts (walnut, hazelnut, almond, cashew, pecan and pistachio), mustard, fish and seafood [vii].
  • In Canada, more than 160 foods have been identified as triggers for allergic reactions [viii].

The majority of children outgrow their allergies before the age of 7

  • 76% of milk allergies are outgrown before the age of 5 [ix].
  • 75% of egg allergies are outgrown before the age of 7 [x].
  • 80% of wheat allergies are outgrown before the age of 5 [xi].
  • Only 20% of peanut allergies are outgrown before the age of 7 [xii].


[i] Overall Prevalence of Self-reported Food Allergy in Canada, L. Soller et al, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2012). doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.06.029
[ii] Prevalence and cumulative incidence of food hypersensitivity in the first 3 years of life. C Venter et al, Allergy 2008: 63: 354-359.
Maternally reported food allergies and other food-related health problems in infants: Characteristics and associated factors. S Luccioli et al. Pediatrics, volume 122, sup. 2, S105-S112, Octobre 2008.
Prevalence of adverse reactions to food in Germany – A population study. T Zuberbier et al. Allergy 2004: 59: 338-345.
The prevalence of food hypersensitivity in an unselected population of children and adults. M Osterballe et al. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 2005: 16: 567-573.
[iii] Santé Canada, Les allergies alimentaires et les intolérances alimentaires,, consulté le 18 juillet 2019.
[iv] Dufresne Claire, Vivre avec les allergies alimentaires, Montréal, Les éditions la presse. 2009, 253p.
[v] Étude nationale Ipsos Reid, 2001.
[vi] Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec (2013). Allergies alimentaires.
Retrieved from : Comment se développe une allergie alimentaire | Gouvernement du Québec ( [Accessed : 15 février 2024].
[vii] Sicherer SH, Sampson HA. (2000) Peanut and tree nut allergy. Curr Opin Pediatr, 12 (6), 567-573.
Hefle SL, Nordlee JA, Taylor SL. (1996) Allergenic foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 36 (Suppl), S69-89
[viii] Sans noix ni loi ». Dussault, Stéphan. Protégez-vous, janvier 2002, p. 19-21.
[ix] [x] [xi] [xii] Branum AM, Lukacs SL. Food allergy among U.S. children: Trends in prevalence and hospitalizations. NCHS data brief, no 10. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2008.