14 Major Food Allergens: Soya
Soya (soy) is classed as one of the 14 major food allergens under government food legislation. Therefore, businesses must clearly state soy as an allergen on all food and drinks ingredient labels for sale within the UK.
Soya is a legume and is found in many foods. Those with soy allergies may also test positive for being allergic to other legumes in the family, such as kidney beans, broad beans, chickpeas, peanuts, peas, lentils, black-eyed peas, lima beans, and butter beans. However, it is rare to have a reaction to more than one type of legume.
According to AllergyUK, it is found in 60% of manufactured foods. Soy comes from soybeans, which can be consumed as beans, soy sauce, soybean oil, or soy flour, which is widely used in baked foods like bread and biscuits. Edamame, which is also often consumed, is the name for immature soybeans. Per YorkTest, it is estimated that 1 in 300 individuals in the UK are allergic to soy and upwards of 45% of individuals are sensitive to soy.
The level of avoidance of soy differs for each individual allergic. Some people may be able to consume some types of soy, such as soy sauce, as many contain a minimal amount of soy in the product, while others may need to avoid all foodstuffs which contain soy or soy-derivatives.
Soy Allergy Symptoms
Soy allergy symptoms vary significantly; they could be mild, but they may be life-threatening. They include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Rashes and itchiness (the eye region may become itchy without a rash)
- Difficulty or inability to swallow
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
- Stomach pain and/or diarrhoea
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Anaphylaxis, which can be fatal (symptoms include: difficulty breathing or speaking, dizziness, or a swelling tongue)
Anaphylaxis is a less common symptom; however, it is more severe, and may require epinephrine and medical care. Anaphylaxis may start with mild symptoms before steadily worsening, and if suffering from an anaphylactic attack then an ambulance should immediately be contacted.
Soy Allergy: the foods to avoid
Those with soy allergies should avoid certain products, and food businesses are required by UK and EU food laws to label soya if it is included in the product. Below is a list of some ingredients containing soy:
- Soy products: soy flour, soy protein, soya yoghurt, soya-based cheese, soybeans, soy nuts, soymilk, soybean oil, and soy sauce
- Vegetable broth
- Vegetarian burgers, sausage rolls, and many other meat substitutes
- Gluten-free bread (which comes in lots of varieties)
Soy Lecithin Allergy
Lecithin is a food additive used as an emulsifier to improve shelf-life and texture, and also used as a separator (for example, between cocoa and cocoa butter in chocolate). Soy Lecithin contains only small amounts of soy protein, and thus is tolerable for most that are allergic to soya.
used as an emulsifier in food to improve shelf-life; texturiser to texturise and increase the stability of some foods;
LiberEat’s Allergy Detection Technology
Food allergen rules and regulations continue to change and evolve. Food businesses must be vigilant when working with ingredients that contain allergens, and exercise due caution when providing ingredient and allergen information to consumers.
LiberEat Allergen Detection Technology provides an allergen safety blanket for food businesses to ensure that consumers are safe and healthy when eating at your restaurant or consuming your food products.
LiberEat offers a second line of defence for food businesses by detecting errors, allergens, and other harmful ingredients. Food businesses can apply this technology directly to identify errors in allergen communications, preventing the risk of injury. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our allergen detection technology.