Food allergy as a biological food quality control system

Esther B. Florsheim, Zuri A. Sullivan, William Khoury-Hanold, Ruslan Medzhitov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Food is simultaneously a source of essential nutrients and a potential source of lethal toxins and pathogens. Consequently, multiple sensory mechanisms evolved to monitor the quality of food based on the presence and relative abundance of beneficial and harmful food substances. These include the olfactory, gustatory, and gut chemosensory systems. Here we argue that, in addition to these systems, allergic immunity plays a role in food quality control by mounting allergic defenses against food antigens associated with noxious substances. Exaggeration of these defenses can result in pathological food allergy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1440-1454
Number of pages15
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 18 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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