Food allergies involve an abnormal response of body's immune system to specific foods. One needs to note that food allergies differ from food intolerance. Food intolerance occurs only in the digestive system when the body does not break down food properly. It does not involve the immune system. The food allergies on another hand could be life-threatening and are associated with numerous risk factors.
Correspondingly these risk factors involve genetic disposition and environmental factors. Genetic disposition puts the individual at greatest risk of developing food allergies. The studies suggest that allergy risk in offspring of healthy parents ranges from 5% to 15%. Having even a single allergic parent increases the risk to 60-80%. Environmental factors influencing this disease comprise of hygiene, lifestyle, food habits and nutritional status. As a matter of fact, absolute hygiene maintenance and avoidance of germs result in lack of exposure to infectious agents. The lack of exposure during neonatal, infancy and early childhood impairs the immune system. This causes the immune system to confuse a food protein with an invading microorganism. Also, excessive intake of certain medications like antibiotics or antacids can modify microbial population of the digestive tract. Such an event during early life has an adverse impact on the development of immune system. By the same token, the substitution of breastfeeding with manufactured formulas having proteins in enormous quantities also exerts a negative impact.
With changing lifestyle, people have exposed themselves to numerous health ailments. Majority of the changes such as the widespread use of genetically-modified foods in recent times find positive link with food allergies.