mushroom allergy

Navigating Life with a Mushroom Allergy: A Comprehensive Guide

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Updated on March 7, 2024

Mushroom allergy, though less common than other food allergies, poses unique challenges for those affected. This article delves into the intricacies of mushroom allergies, a condition that often goes unrecognised yet can have significant impacts on daily life. We will explore what triggers mushroom allergies, how they manifest in symptoms, and the difficulties in diagnosis, given their less typical occurrence.

Importantly, this piece offers practical advice for managing a mushroom allergy, from identifying and avoiding trigger foods to understanding cross-reactivity and handling accidental exposure. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, suspect you might be allergic or are looking to support someone with this allergy, this guide provides essential insights into living safely and comfortably with a mushroom allergy.

Key Takeaways

  • Mushroom allergies can cause common symptoms such as itching, hives, and difficulty breathing.
  • Foods to avoid if you have a mushroom allergy include edible mushrooms, fungus-related foods, packaged foods with yeast or sour cream, and pickled meat or fish.
  • Cross-reactivity can occur with other allergens, so it’s important to be cautious with foods that contain moulds or fungi like yeast.

Understanding Mushroom Allergies

Mushroom allergies can be caused by various factors and may lead to common symptoms such as itching, hives, or even more severe reactions like difficulty breathing.

A photo of various mushrooms in a forest, captured with professional equipment. Mushroom allergy.

Causes of Mushroom Allergies

Mushrooms can bring joy to a meal, but not for everyone. Some people are allergic to the fungus in them. This is due to what we call fungus food allergy syndrome (FFAS). When you eat foods like mushrooms and fungi-fermented items, your body may react badly. It thinks these foods are harmful invaders. The rich amount of allergens in mushrooms is the main cause here. Another problem is ergothioneine found in mushrooms, which can make intolerance worse.

Common Symptoms of Mushroom Allergies


Eating mushrooms can cause some of us to feel sick. This is often due to a mushroom allergy. You might get red spots on your skin, known as hives, or even a rash if you eat them. Sometimes, after eating mushrooms, your lips and throat start swelling up. Not only that, but you also end up feeling very ill in the stomach – with feelings like needing to vomit and being nauseous. In extreme cases, some people can go into shock or experience something called anaphylaxis from mushroom allergies.

Testing and Diagnosis

Dealing with a mushroom allergy can be tough. Here are some things to know about testing and diagnosis:

  1. We find out if you have it by testing.
  2. We can use the signs of your allergy to tell if it’s mushrooms making you ill.
  3. The fact that a person might react the same to different types of fungi helps us say “yes” or “no” to a mushroom allergy.
  4. If you also feel sick after eating foods with fungus in them, this is another clue.
  5. Sadly, we don’t have many facts on how to test and find out if someone has an allergy to mushrooms.
  6. Now, we don’t have a simple home test that tells which wild mushrooms are bad and which are good for you.

Managing Mushroom Allergies

To effectively manage mushroom allergies, it is important to be aware of the foods and products to avoid that may contain or be cross-reactive with mushrooms.

A close-up of a plate with various mushroom-based dishes.

Foods and Products to Avoid

If you have a mushroom allergy. This means you need to stay away from certain foods and products. Here is your list:

  1. Edible mushrooms: These are a big no for you.
  2. Fungus-related foods: They can cause fungus food allergy syndrome (FFAS), which is bad news.
  3. Packaged foods: Some contain sour cream, dried fruits, or alcohol products like beer and wine.
  4. Sour cream: It’s one of the things you can’t eat because it has mushroom parts in it.
  5. Dried fruits: They also have bits of mushrooms and are not for me.
  6. Alcohol: This includes beer and wine, as they use yeast.
  7. Yeast-based products: Bread, pizza, and other yeast-based foods are out, too.
  8. Foods with Pickled Meat and Fish: These include pickles made with meat or fish.

Cross-Reactivity With Other Allergens

Some foods act like mushrooms in our bodies. This is called “cross-reactivity“. It means that if you are allergic to mushrooms, you might also react to some other types of food. For example, ragweed can cause an itchy mouth in some people with mushroom allergies.

It’s not just foods that we need to worry about either. Things floating around in the air, like mould spores, can also upset your body! So anyone who gets sick from these things might feel worse when they eat certain types of fungus-related foods, too. To stay safe, try avoiding foods full of moulds or fungi such as yeast.

Tips for Safe Dining Out

Going out to eat can be hard when you have a mushroom allergy. But don’t worry. We’ve got some tips that can help you stay safe while dining out.

  1. Always tell the waiter about your mushroom allergy. They need to know this so they can make sure to keep mushrooms away from your food.
  2. Don’t just look for ‘mushrooms’ in the meal names or descriptions. Some foods might have sneaky mushroom-based ingredients such as yeast or mould.
  3. Ask how the food is made before choosing anything from the menu. Mushrooms or yeast could be hiding in sauces or baked goods.
  4. Carefully check salads and other raw dishes since they may contain raw mushrooms.
  5. Avoid foods like cheese, vinegar, sour cream, and pickles because they may contain mould, which can cause allergic reactions as well.
  6. Don’t feel shy about asking questions! It’s better to ask than risk having an allergic reaction.
  7. Always carry your antiallergic medications with you, just in case you accidentally consume something that causes an allergic reaction.
  8. Stay away from buffet-style restaurants where cross-contamination is more likely because food items are not kept separate.

Alternative Foods for Mushroom Allergy

Looking for delicious and allergy-friendly alternatives to mushrooms? Check out our list of substitutes and discover new ways to enjoy your favourite recipes without the risk. Read on to find out more!


Substitutes for Mushrooms in Recipes

Sometimes, due to mushroom allergies, finding a substitute for mushrooms in your recipes becomes essential. Here are some alternatives you might find useful in your culinary journey:

TofuTofu is an ideal source of protein and has the ability to absorb the flavour of other ingredients, making it a great mushroom substitute.
TempehAnother soy product, tempeh, can be a useful mushroom alternative in your recipes due to its rich, nutty flavour.
ZucchiniZucchini is a good substitute for mushrooms as it soaks up the taste of the dish it is cooked in. In terms of taste and texture, zucchini is considered an ideal substitute for mushrooms.
OnionOnions can provide a similar texture to mushrooms and, when caramelised, can add a sweet depth of flavour to your dish.
EggplantEggplant, with its unique texture and ability to absorb flavours, can replace mushrooms in your cooking.
Sun-dried tomatoesSun-dried tomatoes offer a concentrated, slightly sweet, and very tomato-flavoured addition to your plate, potentially replacing the unique umami taste of mushrooms.
SquashVarious types of squash can mimic the texture of mushrooms and bring their own light, sweet flavour to your dish.
NutsNuts can be used as a replacement for mushrooms in baked dishes like Chicken Marsala due to their crunchy texture and rich flavour.

Remember to avoid using russet potatoes as substitutes for mushrooms in stir-fries or soy recipes, as the result might not be as desirable. Now, you can still enjoy your favourite recipes, just without the mushrooms.

Nutritional Considerations

As someone with a mushroom allergy, it’s important to think about the nutritional aspects of alternative foods. While mushrooms are a good source of nutrition, there are other options that can provide similar benefits.

You can try incorporating vegetables like zucchini or eggplant into your meals for added nutrients. Legumes like beans and lentils can also be a great protein substitute. Don’t hesitate to speak with a healthcare professional or dietitian to ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients in your diet while avoiding mushrooms.


To conclude, if you have a mushroom allergy, it’s important to know which foods to avoid. Cheese, sour cream, beer, wine, sauerkraut and dried fruits should be off your plate. Don’t forget about pickled meat and fish, either! Pay attention to food labels and be cautious when dining out. Remember that there are alternative foods you can enjoy without risking an allergic reaction.


1. Which mushrooms should I avoid if I have a mushroom allergy?

If you have a mushroom allergy, it’s best to avoid all types of mushrooms, including common varieties like button mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms.

2. Can I eat dishes cooked with mushroom seasoning if I have a mushroom allergy?

No, it is not recommended to consume dishes that are cooked with mushroom seasoning if you have a mushroom allergy. Even small traces of it can cause an allergic reaction.

3. How long does it take for mushroom allergy symptoms to develop, and for how long?

The onset and duration of mushroom allergy symptoms vary depending on many factors, including the individual, the nature of their allergic reaction, and how the case is managed. Generally speaking, these symptoms typically start within minutes of exposure and last for a few hours.

4. How do I know if a food contains hidden mushrooms that could trigger my allergy?

To identify hidden sources of mushrooms in food products, carefully read ingredient labels and look for any mention of “mushroom,” “fungus,” or specific types of mushrooms in the ingredients list.

5. What should I do if I accidentally consume something containing mushrooms despite having an allergy?

If you accidentally consume something containing mushrooms and experience symptoms like hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, seek medical attention immediately as it could be an allergic reaction requiring treatment.

6. Can you have an allergic reaction from touching a mushroom?

Yes, it is possible to have an allergic reaction from touching a mushroom if you have a mushroom allergy. This type of reaction is known as contact dermatitis, which can occur when the skin comes into direct contact with an allergen. In the case of mushroom allergies, touching the mushroom can cause symptoms such as redness, itching, swelling, or a rash on the skin where contact was made.

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