Reasons for a Food Challenge

Why Your Child Might Need a Food Allergy Challenge Test

There are a few reasons why your doctor might refer your child to the Food Allergy Center for a food challenge test.

Food challenges can help us find out if your child:

  • Is allergic to a food to which he or she had a positive allergy test but hasn't ever ingested.
  • Is allergic to a food when the allergy test results and history don’t equate.
  • Has outgrown a food allergy.

Food Allergy Risks in Kids

Your child should have at least a 50 percent chance of passing the challenge.

This is the case for almost all children who have only had a positive skin test but no clinical history of an allergic reaction to the food in the past.

For other children, we base their food allergy risk on:

  • Allergy testing.
  • Prior severity of reaction.
  • The passage of time.

You may want to discuss your child’s specific risk with your doctor before the food challenge appointment.

Is a Food Challenge Right for My Child?

Making the decision to do a food challenge should be between your allergy team, your family, and your child.

Some people may prefer to wait until the child is older or has a greater chance of passing the challenge.

Be sure you understand why your doctor recommended a food challenge. If you're unsure, don’t hesitate to ask questions before the challenge date.

It's also important that you feel confident your child will eat the food if he or she isn't allergic.

It's OK to postpone the challenge if your child:

  • Is a picky eater.
  • Has oral feeding issues.
  • Is anxious or isn't ready for the food challenge test.