Quality standard

Quality statement 5 (placeholder): Diagnosing food allergy in adults

Quality statement 5 (placeholder): Diagnosing food allergy in adults

What is a placeholder statement?

A placeholder statement is an area of care that has been prioritised by the Quality Standards Advisory Committee but for which no source guidance is currently available. A placeholder statement indicates the need for evidence‑based guidance to be developed in this area.


Food allergy can be more complex to diagnose in adults than in children and young people, and often involves multiple foods, allergic comorbidities (such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic eczema), and reactions to food that happen only with a co‑factor (for example, with exercise). In adults, distinguishing food allergy from food intolerance and conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome can be difficult; misdiagnosis results in inappropriate referrals to secondary care. Improved diagnosis of food allergy (both IgE‑ and non‑IgE‑mediated) in adults can greatly reduce healthcare burden, save NHS resources and improve quality of life.