How Common is Tomato Allergy?

The studies show that among the European population, tomato allergy ranges from 1.5% in northern Europe up to 16% of the adults in Italy. Different studies indicate that the prevalence of tomato allergy is approximately 1.7% to 9.3% in different populations of Europe with an average of 4.9%. 

When we think of food allergies, common culprits like peanuts, shellfish, and milk products often come to mind. However, there’s a less talked about allergen that can cause symptoms for some: the humble tomato. While not as prevalent as other food allergies, tomato allergy does exist and can pose challenges for those affected.

What is a Tomato Allergy?

A tomato allergy is an adverse immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to tomatoes. The immune system mistakenly identifies certain proteins in tomatoes as harmful, triggering an allergic reaction. This type of allergy falls under the category of food allergies which can potentially be very, very dangerous. 

Prevalence of Tomato Allergy

It is estimated that true tomato allergies occur in about 1.5% of Northern Europeans. In Italy, where tomatoes are a staple in the diet, the prevalence is higher, affecting up to 16% of the population.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of a tomato allergy can range from mild to severe and may include skin rashes, hives, sneezing, and even anaphylaxis in rare cases.

Diagnosis typically involves:

- skin prick tests with tomato extracts and fresh tomato or tomato products such as tomato sauce (prick-puncture test)
- blood tests, sIgE for tomato, f25 Tomato
- ingestion food challenge test

All of this tests are best conducted under the direct care of a board-certified allergist.

Managing a Tomato Allergy

For those with a tomato allergy, avoidance is key. Reading food labels and asking about ingredients when dining out is very important. For severe reactions, carrying an epinephrine auto-injector an using is early is crucial.


While tomato allergy is not as common as other food allergies, it’s important to recognize its existence and the impact it can have on individuals’ lives. Awareness and proper management can help those with a tomato allergy navigate their dietary restrictions and maintain a good quality of life. Remember, if you suspect you have a food allergy, consult with a a board-certified allergist for proper testing and guidance.


Adverse Food Reactions (click to enlarge the image).