Celery is that well-known strong-tasting vegetable, commonly thought to contain fewer calories than the energy used to consume it. Made up mostly of water, it’s amazing that this unassuming green food stuff is so widely used for its crunchy leafy stalks, root and seeds in food flavourings across the world. Celery is part of the carrot family, plants having flowers in umbels, also including parsley, anise, caraway and dill.
Where is celery allergy most common?
Celery allergy seems to be far more common in central Europe, mainly France, Switzerland and Germany, and less so in the UK and US, where dairy allergy is the most common. It is one of the small number of foods, the biggest being peanut, that appear to provoke the most severe allergic reactions; for people with celery allergy, exposure can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.
Avoid celery, celeriac and celery seeds
Cooking celery does not destroy the proteins which cause the allergic reaction. Celery root, commonly eaten as celeriac, or put into drinks, is known to contain more allergen than the stalk, however the seeds contain the highest levels of allergen content. Dried celery or spice is also highly allergenic and likely to cause a reaction if a person is sensitive to raw celery. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis may be exacerbated and an allergic reaction can be triggered by eating foods that have been processed with machines that have previously processed celery, making avoiding such foods difficult. For this reason celery is noted on allergy labelling with as much importance as peanut.
Celery allergy and oral allergy syndrome
Allergy to celery seems to be linked to people with seasonal hay fever to birch and/or mugwort pollen (usually March/April). This is called cross-reaction and is often an important cause of food allergies.
Celery allergy due to cross-reactivity occurs at certain times of the year, i.e when the pollen of the wormwood plants and birch trees trigger celery allergy as they have similar cell structure to the celery plant.
Read Alex Gazzola’s interesting article, Oral Allergy Syndrome
Celery is very high in nitrates
From Bacon Wizard, Jasper Ackroyd on the Foods Matter website, celery also contains high levels of nitrate, even more than is found in bacon, so it is often used as a “flavour”, a great way for food manufacturers to get large amounts of nitrate into the recipe undetected and undeclared.
There are also phenols, or natural chemicals called apigenins in celery. Whilst these are thought to have good effects on the body for some people, it could be these that trigger allergic reactions to celery in others.
How to spot the symptoms of celery allergy
The first signs of an allergic reaction are usually a tingling and itching sensation of the mouth, lips, throat and tongue, a minute or two after eating celery. Symptoms including raised bumps and itching, can also spread to the face and eyelids; the skin rash, along with hives, swelling and eczema is another symptom.
Extreme swelling of the throat may cause constriction of the airways, which can result in breathing difficulties, asthma, sneezing, coughing and wheezing. The allergic reactions might also include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and stomach cramping. In severe situations, patient suffer from anaphylaxis with various symptoms like rapid pulse, sudden drop in blood pressure, confusion, slurred speech and loss of consciousness. If not treated swiftly and correctly with adrenalin and hospital admission it may even result in death.
Which foods contain celery?
Celery can be hidden in many food stuffs, and not just the obvious salads, sandwiches and soups. It is often used in stocks, stock cubes and gravy, ready meals, sauces, crisp flavouring and spice mixes. It is often used in oriental cooking as a flavour enhancer. It is very difficult to avoid celery in restaurants as it’s not commonly listed in menu ingredients and can be found hidden in so many things.
Top 6 lifesaving celery free cupboard essentials
- Celery free soup – There are a couple of brands of tinned soup that don’t contain celery. So far I’ve discovered the Free & Easy range, Suma and Look What We Found Pea and Ham soup. This latter is by far my favourite at the moment. It’s got big bits of ham in it and is almost as tasty as home made soup.
- The Free & Easy range includes Leek and Potato and Green pea.
- Leak and Potato – Ingredients: water, potato 13%, leek 8%, red lentils, onions, sunflower oil, sea salt and pepper
- Green pea – Ingredients: water, peas 24%, corn syrup, sunflower oil, sea salt, parsley, black pepper.
Watch out though, their parsnip soup, though sometimes not labelled, does contain celery in the vegetable bouillon. Ingredients: Water, Parsnips (14%) Red Lentils (4.8%) Onions, Rice Flour, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Bouillon (Sea Salt, Yeast Extract, Rice Flour, Palm Oil, Onion, Celery, Carrot, Parsley, Turmeric, Sea Salt). Sometimes this parsnip soup only says ‘vegetable bouillon’ on the ingredients and doesn’t list out the actual things in it.
- Suma soups – More details on Suma soup ingredients to follow shortly… but they do a few that are tomato and celery free.
- Marigold celery free stock cubes – The only stock cubes I’ve found that don’t contain celery are Marigold Organic Swiss vegetable bouillon. These are great because they are gluten free (although they do contain maltodextrin), dairy free, soya free, yeast free and tomato free. Brilliant! Ingredients: sea salt, palm oil, vegetables 13.5% – (onion, carrot, parsley), maltodextrin, spices (mace, lovage, turmeric, bayleaf, pepper). These are really tasty but I often use two as they are not as strong as normal stock cubes. BEWARE: Some Marigold stock cubes DO contain celery. It’s just this green pack that don’t. I checked with the manufacturers and this is what they said: “There is no celery in the Green box yeast free gluten free Marigold Cubes. The other two cubes – Red box and Low Salt Purple box – do contain celery. Re cross contamination – our Swiss manufacturers clean their highly sophisticated machinery between production runs, so there is no cross contamination.”
- Free&Easy celery free gravy sauce mix – Again, the only gravy granules sauce mix I’ve found that do not contain celery is Free & Easy Gluten Free vegetable gravy sauce mix. It’s also free from dairy, tomatoes, gluten, yeast…Ingredients: brown rice flour, cornstarch, hydrolysed vegetable protein, extract of roasted barley malt, powdered onion, sea salt and ground pepper. This product is guaranteed gluten free too.
Celery and exercise induced anaphylaxis
Do you have a sensitivity to celery? If you do it could also be linked to exercise induced anaphylaxis. On two occasions this happened to me and I’m sure I didn’t consume dairy or nuts (my usual triggers). I’m wondering whether on those occasions it could have been caused by celery.
Celery and birch pollen allergy
I can’t exactly confirm what time of year these reactions occurred, but they could well have been during the birch pollen hay fever season. Since I found many references to it being linked to exercise induced anaphylaxis it’s a strong possibility as it’s hidden in so many things.
I’d love to hear from anyone else with this allergy, or anyone who has found any other brilliant celery free products.
Alex G says
Thanks for the reminder of that article of mine, Ruth. I may have a word with Michelle as it needs an update!
When I was researching my second book, Living with Food Allergy, I was trying to find unusual sources of each key allergen – take a look at the Marmite label!
I may be imagining this, but celery also has some other compound in it which can react with skin if you come into contact with it a lot (celery harvesting / celery packing). At least, I think it’s celery… will have a look when I have time.
Marmite! I forgot about that one. Yes I came a cropper with that one. Before I sussed it out as the cause nearly every meal was making me ill. My Marmite on toast was not helping… I do miss Marmite. I’ve never done any harvesting or picking. Interesting to hear about that though. Thanks Alex.
Behnaz Amani says
wow! that was a very informative article. so many thanks to you. I’m at the rush of allergic attack and till now I did not know that celery could be allergen!!!!!
Best Diet Supplements says
Anaphylaxis is the most dangerous symptom of a celery allergy. It’s common with food and insect stings and can be fatal. Someone experiencing anaphylaxis will have severe swelling of the face and throat that constricts the airway, making it impossible to breathe. They could also quickly experience shock, which if left untreated can be fatal.
symptoms can occur within minutes of consuming celery to up to five days after eating the vegetable.
Thanks for the comment Best Diet Supplements. People should know how to recognise a anaphylactic attack now.
Jane Lester says
Thank you for this! This is the first I’ve read about this allergy although I self-diagnosed almost 30 years ago when my lips and eyes swelled up beyond recognition on 3 occasions. Since then although I’ve tried to avoid celery I know that I have eaten, with no obvious effect, some products which contain cooked celery so am very interested to hear about the cross-reaction. I’m not aware that I have hayfever though.
It’s a really hard one to avoid but also, many foods change when cooked. Celery supposedly doesn’t change but maybe something alters so that you can eat it cooked, buit not raw. Very interesting.
I’m allergic to celery but only mildly. Really it’s from the seeds, like in celery salt, that I have bad reactions. Although for me, a bad reaction is my mouth feeling kind of tingly and numb. Raw celery makes my tounge itch slightly and I almost never notice it in cooked food (the plant not the seeds). My doctor said that some of the proteins can be broken down when cooking and with the addition of more things going on and melding, less of the allergens are present. I don’t know how right that is, but it seems to be true for me.
I’ve had spring and fall pollen allergies since puberty. Now (perimenopausal) I find I get itchy throat/mouth from carrots and celery. It developed very quickly. In May I could eat them, in July I could not. Now I can’t even handle them! I get a skin reaction if they touch a tender area of skin. So far I’ve had a skin reaction on my eyelids (accidentally touched after handling raw carrot) and on the back of a finger (raised, itchy burning rash). Now tonight I noticed a similar oral reaction to aged Provolone cheese. I’ve always been able to eat that! This was a first. I wonder if I’m developing an ever-increasing allergy to “Nitrates”?????
My daughter and I are not able to eat anything with celery salt, we immediately feel tingling in our mouths and then we start having difficulty swallowing. We have to carry Benadryl at all times. I recently was over a friends for dinner and they served stuffing that contained celery and I immediately felt tingling in my mouth and difficulty swallowing. Even though we had been able to eat raw and cooked celery in the past but now we are afraid to attempt it.
Hiya, yeah celery salt is hidden in so much. I went through a phase of using a lot of celery salt and now I’m allergic too… Not good, but why does this happen? Never ever really liked it but used to be ok with it cooked. Now it’s bad news for me.
Ruth I was explained this summer that people with Oral birch Allergy have been likely to have ingested birch pollen! Birch pollen is a very quick day day cycle in most places and your prety unlucky to actually digest it as it would normally get stuck in nostril hair or salivia breaks it down. However if like me you have been unlucky it can cause a huge change to the way your system breaks down food and triggars like hazel nits and the big one celery casue your body to react against all the foods in the birch list….BIRCH pollen: almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, carrots, celery, cherries, chicory, coriander, fennel, fig, hazel nuts, kiwifruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, strawberries, wheat; PotBirchential: walnuts
It took me a year to realize it was celery I was reacting to., throat swelling & red skin. No urchin or tingling to mouth. Same reaction are or cooked, difficult allergy here in USA,
Ruth Holroyd says
Yes I can imagine, I don’t think it’s labelled is it? More common in Europe… and included in so many bloomin things
‘Look what we found’ pea and ham soup is also celery free and completely delicious.
I have been suffering for 27 years with a celery allergy. Fortunately it is not as serious as yours but very uncomfortable and pain-
full. I get severe gastric upset with swelling of the abdomen. Funnily enough I have found that good ol’ Pepto bismol and buscupan(pain killer for stomach cramps) help enormously until the “effects” wear off. It may take 3 to 5 days. Sometimes I even manage to “Poison” myself… like tonight…I misread a label and missed the spices in the list. So I made meat sauce with sausages (spices on the ingredients), soup with the sauce and to make matters worse tried some organic multi coloured carrots. I think I shall purchase shares in Pepto Bismol…; )
To matters even worse I used anise and parsley in the sauce, not realizing that it could be cross reactive. Cumin is in the same family. Be careful it is in all premade curry mixes. and may be cross reactive. I have taken to eating thai green or red curry paste. I have also taken to making all my own soups in large batches and freezing portions of varying sizes. Also have found that I cannot eat any food that has been cooked in the same oven that has had a celery containing dish cooked at the same time. ei. stuffing with celery and a seperate roast chicken.
Well that’s interesting, I’ve often wondered about other spices as I do sometimes have unexplained attacks and never find out what caused them. The bain of my life is ingredients lists which say ‘spices’ or ‘vegetable stock’ or ‘boillion’. How do they get away with it? I thought everything had to labelled these days by law if it contained one of the top allergens? Unfortunatly celery is a bit of a way down that list so it doesn’t always get mentioned. I made myself a Thai Green Curry last night – yummy. I use Mae Ploy curry paste and that’s fine for me. No celery in sight. I hadn’t thought of the effects of something with celery being cooked in the same oven! Now that does complicate matters I should imagine. As far as I know though – no celery ever passes my threshhold – but I guess it could be a problem when eating out. Thanks again for the comment. And I agree – pain killers can be really helpful yet not many doctors would advise that. Is Pepto Bismol something to calm the stomach?
Hey i have a question why is it i cant eat celery stalk or leaf but i can seed sometimes?
Well that is odd as apparently the seeds are supposed to be the most highly allergenic, however if there’s one thing I’ve leant on this allergy journey I’m on, it’s that very few people are exactly the same. This little plant seems to contain many different elements, perhaps there is less nitrate in the seeds and you might be reacting to the nitrates in celery. Do you struggle with other nitrate containing foods? I”ll look into this – very interesting. Thanks the comment!
As it’s only happend once, I can’t say for sure, but my allergist’s best guess to an anaphylactic episode was celery-based food dependent exercise induced, so it’s possible. I just avoid raw celery so I don’t have to wonder has it been long enough to exercise, etc……. I’ve never had the problem with exercise alone, luckily, but I will say I toned down running outside a lot after that.
Hi Jules. Sounds very similar to my experience and yes, it does make you a little more wary of running outside, especially alone, which is usually what I do when I go running. I’m lucky that mine is only food related but some people do react to exercise alone – a very scary prospect indeed! Stay safe, eat carefully, and make sure you have your medication if you go running – just in case…
Wow…how interesting is all that. I found out last year, I think about this time, that I have this celery allergy. I couldn’t believe it at first because I have never had allergies to anything. But after the third episode and nearly passing out, I had to come to grips with a new thing to deal with in my life. The wierd thing though is that it kind of went away 6 months later. I found that out by accidently eating the celery one time and nothing happening. Then I tested the waters by having more. Again nothing happened. Well that was 6 months ago and tonight I had a full blown crazy allergic reaction to some Chinese food that had celery. So im thinking its a seasonal allergy for me, right? Does anyone else see a pattern of some kind with this celery allergy? I would like to find anything that kind of lets me know when to expect it to start and when I can look forward to it giving me a break….help!
I’m on websites tonight after having been to the allergist’s office and finding out that I’m allergic to many foods that I love, including milk, oats,oranges and celery!! And with Thanksgiving just around the corner, this is not good news, but I am relieved to have some answers and to know what foods to try to avoid.
I have always had many environmental and medication allergies, so this should come as no surprise. What I have learned over the years is that I can sometimes be exposed or take a medication and get away with it, and sometimes not. It’s not worth the risk, as you’ve obviously just learned. It’s a bit like Russian Roulette. Anaphylaxis can kill you quickly. If you’ve “gotten away” with eating celery now and then, you’ve just been lucky. Avoid it like the hazard that it is (to you) and carry an Epi Pen, just to be safe. Epi won’t kill you, but sounds like celery just might!! Good luck from an empathetic allergy ridden comrade.
Laura Killian says
I have been hospitalized 3 times with anaphylaxis reaction and this past week with. Blood pressure of 70/28. Scary. My allergist brought up the celery exercise connection but I will say all three attacks have been during this football season and I am allergic to all grasses!! Very new to me and very scary
I found out several years ago that I was allergic to celeriac (celery root)–this after having eaten it many times, loving it…I am a chef and worked with it in restaurants. One day, I decided to make it for my family…my hands and eyes started itching and I thought it was because Iwas playing w the dog after I’d prepped dinner. I ate a few bites of the dish (celery root gratin) and it tasted “Peppery.” I was uncomfortable through the evening, then got up and looked in the mirror to see my whole face misshapen w hives, which sort of marched down my body head to toe. I called my allergist, he got me prednisone and a scrip for epi pen.
About 6 months later, the same thing happened with raw celery. I have not eaten raw celery again (except once, one small celery stick when I forgot). I have had cooked celery AND handled raw (a lot–I’m STILL a chef and I develop recipes)…I’ve also eaten celery seed in things.
My epi pens expired and I haven’t renewed them, but refreshing my memory on this all makes me think I’d be smart to have the epi pen again…
I have had some allergic sensations when I’ve had things w other spices in them–I have wondered about cumin, so this bit of info in this story was interesting. And scary, frankly…
Hi Barb! Thanks for the comment. I find the taste of celery very pungent too. I can usually tell if a dish contains any, I think that’s my body saying, “Whoah there! You know you shouldn’t be eating this.!”. With celery, if I don’t exercise, I get horrible hives that are kind of like hard white lumps that itch like crazy and contain clear liquid. I cannot avoid scratching these little hives, they drive me mad, and the rash always comes up on my forarms, shoulders, the top of my back, along my hair line at the back of my neck and if it’s really bad, all over my forhead too. I recently risked a celery laced pie. Stupid you might think, but with no oven due to house renovations my very kind and very favourite neighbour made us chicken pie which was dairy, nut and tomato free, what a star! she didn’t know about the celery and had used some baby stock cubes, which were pretty good apart from celery. So I ate the pie, thinking if it’s just in the stock cube it will be a tiny bit, along with a handful of digestive enzymes. I take these wherever I go and especially when eating out. I did have hives on my right arm and shoulder, but managed to avoid too much scratching. It was almost worth it. IN fact it was worth it. It was a delicious, tasty and nourishing pie. I wonder whether I should experiment with different digestive enzymes and be less fanatical about celery… I definitely won’t be doing this before exercise at any point, and am not condoning anyone should risk a serious allergic reaction by experimenting in this way, but you know your body, and i just wonder if cuttting stuff out isn’t the answer for mild reactions like hives. However it’s not the birch or mugwort pollen season now so clearly I do have a sensitivity. Raw celery sends me completely allergic. A very tricky one. Another blog post on digestive enzymes is called for here! Every tried them Barb? They definitely minimise any reactions for me when I’m not sure about celery. It only works if you have a mild allergy though and for traces of the food. I wouldn’t eat celery pie and try this!
Thanks for all the posts concerning celery allergy. I thought I was the only one. 22 years ago I reacted severely to celery with hives in my throat and difficulty breathing. The doctors weren’t able to give me any as I was pregnant. Over the years I had three more serious reactions. I’ve stayed right away from any celery that I know of, but the reactions were undetected in things like spaghetti sauce and chili. I can’t even eat anything that ‘might’ have been in contact with celery like raw vegetables on a plater. During my last reaction, my eyes swelled shout and my lips swelled. I have to take inhalers as breathing is difficult. I also carry an epi pen just in case. I have to mention my food allergy when I go out to eat and if I’m in doubt at pot luck dinners, etc…. I just go without rather than take any chances. I do have fairly severe hay fever.
You are definitely not the only one, and I’m so heartened to hear that I’m not either! When I wrote this post I never thought I’d get such an amazing response. I thought this was so rare – but it’s also the most scary of my allergies. Even brisk walking after eating something with celery can give me an allergic reaction. Not worth the risk. There are soups, sauces and stock cubes out there and cooking from fresh is always tastier and better.
My allergy is also severe enough that I can detect celery on a person’s breath, if they’ve eaten it and my throat can get itchy from that alone. I have never bought celery since my first reaction so my kids have never even eaten it either. (And as a child, I ate it all the time.)
Thanks for the comment Karen. I too ate celery as a child with no problems. I have to admit I never really liked it. Yuk! maybe my body was saying “Don’t have this any more!” but over the years things got worse and worse. It’s not he easiest thing to avoid though as it’s used in a flavour in so many things. Stay safe fellow celery allergic!
Thanks for article and all the comments. Figured I’d add mine – maybe I’ll learn something. I have had 4 food reactions in past 2-1/2yrs. 1st was angioedema – thought it was halibut. 2nd and 3rd were severe skin rashes – again thought it was some type of fish. First skin tests produced negatives for all fish, dairy, nuts, etc. Not sure if it means anything, but last 2yrs I’ve been practicing vegan diet 90% of time. I was given an epi and no episodes for 6months until this Sept when I ate Celery Root Hash Browns (have eaten them before with no issues) and had severe stomach cramps, then throat swelling, then hives, and rash.. everything. It was a fun day in the ER. I then tested for celery (skin and blood) and was negative but we did find out I am quite allergic to sagebrush/wormwood. Today we took the celery root hash (from my freezer) and the Dr ground it and mixed with saline and did a skin test and I reacted. No surprises there.. he also tested the mixture on his asst who does not have a sagebrush allergy and he did not react. Looking back to my 1st 3 reactions, it is possible that there was celery seasoning in the meals I ate. The theory at this point is that (1) I’m allergic to celery root but not celery and/or (2) The sagebrush/wormwood pollen cross reacted with the celery plant I ate since it was Sept. So, I continue to carry my epi pens and avoid all celery. Any similar situations or ideas are appreciated. My stumped Dr and I would appreciate them. Thanks
I just realised that I had an allergy to celery during thanks giving.. The stuffing in my turkey had celery in it and I had the worst night of cramps and vomiting ever… I soon after got an allergy test and teested posotive for celery… My question is does anyone know the chemical or ingrediant in celery that causes the reaction… I know that the plant has a composition of nearly 90% water.. This information would be extremely usefull for me.. Thanks
Hi Andrew. I’m not 100% sure but I do know that celery is very high in nitrates. It also contains phenols, or natural chemicals called apigenins which are supposed to very good for most people, but are thought to be the culprits for causing anaphylaxis in unlucky individuals like you and I. It’s hidden in so many things too. VERY frustrating! Stay safe!
My thought here is that it might be MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. You may not be reacting to the vegetable, but to a spray used on it; I believe some organophosphates are known to have immunomodulatory effects. If various genes in your immune system – particularly in your gut – get jammed on all the time, then gradually your immune system can become more sensitive, until the allergens are removed and the inflammatory reaction dies down. Probiotics may help with this.
Just an idea, I am not a healthcare professional.
Interesting thought, Kenny, because it was my thinking too, that it was sprays on the celery that I might be allergy to. Why would we get reactions if we’d been eating the vegetable for years. I also have a severe reaction to lilies now, that I’ve never had before either.
My celery allergy started as an adolescent with raw celery causing the tip of my tongue to become numb. I never liked the taste of raw celery because of the burning/numbing sensation on my tongue. Now almost 50 years later, my allergy has worsened. I cannot tolerate any celery, raw or cooked. Even the minutest amount causes my mouth to become numb, starting with my tongue.
If you do a thorough search on the web, you will find a website which describes a celery allergy and offers great information on the subject.
Hi Particia. Me too! I never liked it as a child. Always thought it was a foul vegetable but could tolerate it cooked in stuff. However, over time, I now can’t even have the tiniest weenist amount without being really ill. I just get serious hives which burst and clear liquid comes out. If I do exercise, even brisk walking I’m in serious trouble and have had anaphylaxis on two occasions because of celery. Thanks the link. I will check it out.
Mine worsened in 2007 when I became allergic to latex, an associated allergy. In June 2011, my face swelled and I had heart palpitations.
I used to be allergic to birch and grass/rye pollen, other associated allergies. Back in the late 1970s, I had allergy testing and was treated for them.
I have a latex allergy… wow! Are they linked? That’s interesting. Also allergic to grass and birch. Well i never.
Well, darn, now I’ve developed a severe allergy to carrots. Unbeknowst to me, I was taking a multi-vitamin with beta-carotene in it and minutely dosing myself for about five years.
In the summer of 2012, I suddenly became quite ill after eating a taco salad from a fast food place. I thought it was salmonella poisoning. Now looking back I know this was my first bout of an allergic reaction to carrots.
The thing is I love carrots, especially carrot cake. It’s now a past favorite because it causes such a severe reaction.
I live in the US and my primary care physician laughed at me when I told him I had allergies to celery and carrots. He thought I was fibbing him. I haven’t seen him since. I have a relative from a Scandinavian country and I believe I got the allergy from his side of the family.
Yup carrots and celery appear to be related. Darn them. I appear to be OK with carrots but I have everything crossed as I am getting more allergic as the years pass. Have you tried sweet potato or beetroot cake? What about parsnip cake? I reckon you can make a great substitute without the carrot. This might be my next project. My doctor laughed at me too. You can’t possible to allergic to nuts AND dairy – noone is allergic to more than one thing. Oh yeah? Nuts, dairy, soya, wheat, celery, tomatoes and counting… can’t eat kidney beans and broad beans, which is probably peanut related but don’t mind avoiding them – they’re pretty disgusting anyway so no great loss there. I have traced my family back to France so suspect my celery nonsense comes from there. It’s all quite interesting really.
I am a 34 yr old female with some med allergies and seasonal allergies, which worsen or lessen depending on which state I live in (I scratched 24/7 the entire 2 years that I lived there!). I am also allergic to cats. I take Zyrtec daily. I have a daughter with a severe peanut allergy.
Anyway, I have eaten celery my entire life, loving celery and peanut butter. A couple of years ago I started to notice that any time I ate celery, carrots (uncooked) or avocado my mouth would slightly swell. I pretty much avoid celery and uncooked carrots now but love avocado so much that I eat it regardless of the slight reaction.
Last night, however, I enjoyed a delicious plate of cashew chicken from our local chinese restaurant. About 2 hours later I suddenly became extremely itchy, my face swelled up, I turned beet red, was burning hot on the outside but freezing on the inside, got immediate stomach cramps, felt light-headed and my legs gave in. I could still breath fine but I was a bit freaked out, as you can imagine. I went to the hospital and was given antihistamines, which fixed me right up.
Today, I called the restaurant to inquire as to what was in the cashew chicken dish – they responded that in addition to chicken and cashews, it contained celery and carrots along with other veggies, and brown rice – no MSG. Ugh! I googled celery allergies, since I have had issues with celery prior, and the symptons above were right on! I am going to have an official test done but I am sure that I need to avoid celery at all cost now!
Thanks for the information!
I developed this allergy a few years ago. When I tell people that I am allergic to celery they pretty much laugh. I have had to stop eating out and have to make most food from scratch. My ex mother in law cooked with it even after I told her I was allergic. People don’t seem to understand how serious this is for me. What can I do? If I was allergic to peanuts people would take me seriously.
I know exactly what you mean. It’s embarassing and you tell from their faces that they think you’re making it up. If people laugh it’s because they don’t understand the seriousness of it. I think it’s a form a bullying. If you said, “I just can’t loose this weight and I’m really self conscious about it”, would it be acceptable for them to laugh? Similarly if you said, “I’m on a diet and want to cut out certain foods.” Not quite the same but why shouldn’t someone be able to limit their food when on a diet, would it be acceptable for someone to snigger, sneer and laugh? No! it wouldn’t. I guess it’s human nature a bit. Only the other night I was disappointed listening to the radio when they were seriously taking the P out of allergies, to the point where one person in the sketch had an allergic reaction, his mouth swelled up, tried to sing in silly voice, and oh this was hysterical! I kid you not. I think it’s sad that as a nation we ridicule so much yet we understand so little. It makes me want to never eat out and to just cook my own food. Much easier. I just meet people for a drink, or go to certain restaurants where I know I’ll be OK. But it’s depressing isn’t it, sometimes. Gosh! what a rant! Chefs and waitresses just don’t get it either. They get nuts and gluten but the rest, you must be making it up, mad or just a nutter.
I totally know where you’re coming from. If these people are you friends then they should laugh. Do you carry an EpiPen? Consider explaining to them what happens to you, how ill it makes you and show them how to adminster your EpiPen. If they still laugh then perhaps they’re not very nice friends!
So relieved to read that I’m not the only one with this allergy! i get tingly lips and a bad gastric upset with celery stalks. Even the smell can set me off (supermarkets can be a trial) No problem with celariac though, which is weird. Most people are helpful and sympathetic, but some people don’t take it seriously with the ‘oh, I didn’t think you were serious’ type comments. Some restaurants think it’s ok just to take out the celary from salads (I’m sure they wouldn’t do this with peanuts). Now I always check (sensitivity to the smell is useful here). Veg soup is a no-no though, as hardly anyone seems to know what’s in it for sure.
Dolly Sweeney says
I am a 70 year old female, allergic to carrots, celery, parsley, parsnips, dill, coriander, cumin, etc. for about 35 years. I can smell carrots and celery in the produce aisle. My nose starts to tingle. I cook mostly all my own food. It is too hard to go a restaurant and explain. I never eat Chinese because I can’t ever be sure what’s in the dish. Once, a restaurant server just took the celery stalk out of a drink and gave me the drink back. I had a VERY bad reaction once to a jellied waldorf salad. I never expected celery. I am writing to warn all readers to check breath fresheners and some drugs with additives to make the drug more palatable. A chewable breath freshener makes a big deal of containing parsley for fresh breath. It would kill me. Thanks for helpful ideas.
Hello Dolly! Thanks for your comment. We share quite a few allergies. I am allergic to nuts, dairy, celery, coriander, latex (I suspect dill though it’s not in so many things). And you are right. It’s impossible to communicate these kinds and amount of allergies to servers. They just don’t get it and think you’re being fussy or lying or just think allergies are not so life threatening and that traces are fine. They are not! As we all know and have discovered at our peril. I struggle a lot with eating out and cook mostly all our food at home. There are a few places I will go but I tend to stick to the same old thing; steak or ham egg and chips. Not the most exciting prospect sometimes. I didn’t know about breath fresheners containing parsley though. So many weird little things to look out for. Ethnic good is too much of a risk for me too. Have had too many bad reactions to ever wish to risk it again. Anyway, you stay safe and thanks for the tip.
Dolly Sweeney says
Chobani Greek yogurt strawberry has an ingredient-fruit and vegetable juice concentrate (for color). When my husband opened the package, I got a blinding headache. I had to go outside and then open windows to get rid of the smell. He smelled nothing. Then I read the ingredients. Are there carrots in VEGETABLE JUICE CONCENTRATE?
I never even thought of checking yogurts. This is really good advice for anyone with a carrot allergy. Thanks Dolly! Did you check and find out if it contained Carrot? It’s not one of the top 14 so they don’t have to state it’s presence. Sounds likely though it could have been beetroot or any other reddish colour veggie.
Ah yes, Dolly, I’ve learned every product must be scrutinized and not just once. If it didn’t contain the carrot juice or celery the first time, then next time it might.
Strawberry of most yogurt brands are suspect for carrot juice of some kind being used to color it. The worst culprit is black or red carrot juice because those, for me, cause worse reactions than plain old carrots.
Yes, another red flag for me is vegetable juice concentrate if the product is green or yellow or pink. I always suspect celery or carrot juice.
Thank you for this webpage. I have been struggling with allergies for this past year and finally was diagnosed with a milk allergy, birch allergy, and pet allergy. Since then I have been ultra careful not to eat anything with dairy in it but I was still having allergic reactions. Hives and Excema on my trunk area and then some broke out on my face after eating celery with peanut butter on it. I thought maybe the peanut butter was cross contaminated or something and left it at that. Today I ate celery by itself and my mouth immediatly reacted and I had to spit it out. I searched and found that birch allergy can be linked with an allergy to celery and strawberries. Both of which I feel I have had episodes with after eating. Thanks for the insight on your webpage. This has been helpful and hopefully gave me the answers I was looking for.
Glad to help Todd! It’s a journey and a bit like being a detective trying to discover what our bodies are up to. Good luck. I have had a trying weekend at the outlaws. I didn’t stand over mother in law this weekend and check every packet and thing and today I am regretting the lack of vigilance. The skin on my face is RAW> Ouchy. It will pass thought.
I have multiple food allergies, wheat, rye, barley, splet and kamut, dairy, eggs, soy, bakers yeast, brewers yeast, pork, beef, salmon, citrus, apples,bananas, carrots, my personal favourite – celery!! and mesquite, moulds (14 of the 18 types), it makes eating so much “fun”. Particulary when we eat out.
Hurrah for sushi!!! Fish and rice. I have found that Uncle Bob’s Red Mills have many products that are good for people with food allergies. For example…. oats, which I can eat, would sometimes upset my stomach, sometimes not. Then I found out that the oats are made in the same grist mills that = you guessed it – mill wheat, rye and/or barley. Uncle Bob’s Oats are the only thing in his grist mill. There mixed cereals and flours are handy, if a little expensive.
I have also found out that I can eat organic apples and bananas without any adverse reactions. However I have not got up the courage to try organic celery. I have however found out through research on the internet that celery contains approximately 450 seperate chemicals(insecticides, fertilizers etc.) I sometimes wonder if it is the chemicals we react to not the protein in the foods.
Also I have delveloped over the last couple of years a chemical allergy to?? I am not to sure what. It is a chemical used in the manufacture of vynil, brake fluid(the enviromentally friendly one), rubber shoes, some fast-drying paints, etc. It will cause me to collapse into a faint within seconds. I can see and hear but not respond, then the hangover is a headache, disjointed thinking, dizziness, trouble with muscle control, shakes, and general feeling of illness. If you have any ideas where to start looking I would appreciate the help.
It is nice to now that I am not alone when it comes to being allergic to celery. I have found out that Buscopan (an anti cramping drug for gall bladder attacks) works well to stop the cramps. And good ol’ PeptoBismol settles the “raw stomach” feeling. Taken together it helps to “take the edge off” through the first part of the reaction. I still feel icky and have a sore gut for three to four days though.
Thanks for your website. It was nice to read through others comments.
The chemical allergy you are describing sounds like it could be latex- I believe latex is found in all the products you are describing, though I dont know anything about brake fluid.
Gosh that is frightening. Like Renee suggests you could possibly be cross reacting with similar foods. Is latex a problem? I have a latex allergy which is thankfully milder than the others and only a problem on contact with my skin. If you think of the makeup of celery it doesn’t have much of a skin so it would absorb all the nasty chemicals. Organic is the way to go. I also find taking a dose of vitamins, minerals and lots of vitamin C helps replace what you’ve lost with the icky tummy, helps flush out the horrid food that’s making you ill and just boosts all the good stuff. I’m getting over an allergic reaction that I got at the allergy show in London this weekend of all places. The irony of that is a bit of a joke. Because I was accidentally given normal gluten pasta with milk and cheese topping instead of the dairy free one I thought I was getting I am now really bloated and constipated and can’t get the nasty dairy and gluten out of my tummy. Need to take some laxatives but need to also be going out and about so I don’t really want to have to be rushing to the loo. Very annoying. Will be a few more days with sore eyelids, puffy sores on forhead and cheeks to go yet but am on the mend. Take care and stay safe and stay away from the brake fluid. Have you ever thought of getting a laminated card of instructions to explain to paramedics of anyone what might be happening to you. I have got similar in my bag with my epipens so that if I am unable to communicate someone can find out what might be wrong. Just a thought anyway.
Hey Cherry, Your chemical allergies sound like PPD. I have a PPD allergy from hair dye. Hair dyes have alot of the allergens we all are allergic to in this forum. I found out the hard way. Good Luck!
Barb Ryan says
I agree that people think celery allergy is all in your mind and if you can’t see it, it won’t bother you. Did not like celery as a child and in reading Mom’s diaries I see where she listed celery soup or chicken salad with celery as a meal one day and the next day mentions that I was cranky and sleepless all night. Very difficult for a child to say that every time she eats celery she has icky tummy. The allergy has only gotten worse as I get older and now I have tingling of lips and tongue and swelling of throat in addition to icky tummy and hives. I tell the waiter I am allergic to celery and citrus before I order and have learned to add that “the cook can just pick it out” is not acceptable.
A company here in Canada was advrtising all natural prepared meats, nitate free, and then was forced to change their label as the meats had massive amounts of celery product in them, producing high nitrate levels. Probably ignorance, but it is the type of sneaky labelling that causes problems for those of us with allergies.
It’s very sneaking, and in some ways it’s good because it’s a natural form of nitrate but when it’s a known allergen it shoudl be labelled and declared. Things are slowly getting better but it’s going to be a long way yet till things change. Really fascinating to have your mums old dairies. Does give an indication that you’ve bee suffereing for a while. And if anyone tells me that my allergies are all in my head one time I’ll, I’ll… I’ll explode!
Ya people definately don’t take me seriously when i tell them about my allergy..drives me nuts, it’s so upsetting..i always say “it’s just like the peanuts allergy! it’s very serious!!”
I’m from Canada as well, what are these meat products that I should be watching out for..? I don’t buy anything pre-seasoned
I have suffered from food allergies for the past 32 years, just after my oldest son was born. The worst is celery, I have to ask at every restaurant about celery, and have also started asking about celery salt since many places use it to season fish or steak. I grew up eating celery almost every day from the time I could chew it. I have carried Benadryl with me as taking 2-25 mg pills will usually ward of the allergy attack if I start having symptoms, such as very itchy eyes, severe runny nose, stomach cramps and diarrhea.
One time a co-worker brought a dish to work to share that didn’t look like it had celery, after eating a few bites I remembered to ask and was told “Yes, but it’s cut up really really small”.
I am also allergic to almonds and kiwi and sometimes have issues with avocadoes. I also can not eat green beans, potatoes and tomatoes in the same meal. I also can not drink milk on any sort of regular basis – this was diagnosed as a milk allergy when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade before lactose intolerance became well known.
Gosh you have a growing list there. It’s tough isn’t it. What is poison to you is added without a second thought by others. Any why should they think really when they can eat any foods without worrying. But it’s really tough. I know. Avoiding processed foods is the best way I’ve found to avoid it. Nasty stuff. Urgh! I’ve never liked it at all. Hadn’t thought of seasoning on steak so thanks for that advice. Here they ‘butter’ steak a lot which is one of my other allergies. YOu have to ask so many questions that waitresses think you’re a loony freak. Better to be safe than sorry though.
Thanks for posting the celery free soups! I’ll have to see if they have them in the US. I got diagnosed with severe allergies to celery, carrots, and sesame 3 years ago. I was in college and the cook in my sorority house used Mrs. Dash seasoning on most foods, and it has celery and carrots in it. I had been feeling sick to my stomach every day. I had suspected being allergic to celery for awhile. I was mildly allergic when I was younger, but several years ago I ate a salad with celery and couldn’t take more than two bites because my throat itched so bad. I’ve avoided celery ever since. Unfortunately, that’s hard to do here. Celery does not have to be listed on the ingredient list, it can be included under “natural flavors”. That’s a fun surprise. The majority of grocery foods state “natural flavors” which makes shopping difficult. I’ve had a reaction to a frozen meal where celery was not listed, then I found out it doesn’t have to be. All frozen meals I’ve seen say “natural flavors”. I’ve tried to email several brand companies to ask of specific meals had celery in them, but they never replied. I emailed the FDA asking if this rule would ever change and they said it would not, and if it’s listed as a natural flavor there’s only a very slight amount in there, not enough to affect taste. I don’t care if it affects taste, I care if I have an allergic reaction. It’s so frustrating! Luckily I haven’t had an anaphylactic reaction yet, but the more exposures you get the worse the reactions get. Hopefully it never gets to that point!
Does celery really not have to listed as an allergen in the US? It’s a really common allergy in Europe and growing in the UK. Here it’s one of the top 14 allergens that HAVE to be labelled. Sounds like a nightmare for you. I do avoid things that say ‘seasoning’ or ‘flavours’ or ‘spices’ as this could mean anything. Another phrase to look out for is ‘vegetable boillion’ or ‘stock’. You have no way of know what’s in that without contacting the manufacturers. What I tend to do is cook up a huge vat of soup and freeze portions for when I can’t face cooking. Such a treat. Good luck with your quest for soups!
As a child I was able to eat celery with no issues, the allergy developed as a teenager..I think it may have been triggered from working at the bar and picking up all the empty ceasar glasses?
I do have hay fever in the Spring..I also have a slight allergy for fresh uncooked vegetables and some fruits. They make my throat and lips itch, but once they’re cooked and mushy I can eat them with no issues…
As for the celery, which i now refer to as “poison”, I can’t even be around the smell of it without getting a reaction, and let me just say – i can smell celery a mile away. If my hubby drinks a V8 in the morning i’ll still smell the celery on him at supper time. Celery is now banned in my office building and to any parties/get togethers i go to. Gotta say, it’s nice to see there are a lot more people with this allergy because everyone looks at my like an alien when i tell them about it..the usual comment is “as if! it’s only water!”
Only water? Celery Helery is the devil’s food. Nasty stuff. Always hated it as a child, used to make me shudder. Urgh! It is poison to me too. And I can smell it, a bit like coriander, which does the same to me. I can tell instanntly if celery or coriander are in the room. I’m not so bad though. I can tolerate them near me, just not eat them at all EVER. Glad to hear all your friends and work colleagues are so understanding.
Having been diagnosed with adult-onset food allergies (shellfish, avocados, and celery) I was most perplexed about celery. Thanks for the insight. I have discovered Bok Choy as a wonderful substitute in almost any recipe for celery. It is Chinese cabbage, is in ‘stalks’ almost identical in size and texture to celery, except that it is white. The ‘cabbage’ taste easily cooks away, and the recipe remains the same in texture as with celery.
Hi Steven. You are not the only. There are many celery haters out there. I also love Chard, which makes a brilliant substitute for celery and is also really tasty.
Cate Boddington says
I thought I was imagining things all these years: I hate the smell of the grocery store because the first thing I smell when I walk in is celery. I have bought celery and put it into turkey stuffing, eaten it on resish trays, chopped it into egg and tuna salad,and diced it into Gaspacho for thirty years, all the while disliking the taste and feeling itchy and creepy on the inside. Today I opened the refrigerator door and the odor of the old, wilted celery tops filled the room and made me feel sick. I cut the tops of the stalks off and threw them away wrapped in an old plastic bag, and put the remaining stalks into a sealed ziplock bag, then washed my hands. Four separate handwashings and one hour later I can’t get the smell off my fingers and still feel out of breath. I have had asthma and year-round allergies to trees grasses mold and dust all my life, including shellfish. I am so grateful for your article! Now I will studiously avoid celery and celery salt, once a staple of my spice cabinet.
Hi Cate, have you noticed your health improve since cutting out celery? Nasty stuff. Stinks. Urgh! Helery Celery.
Ruth Holroyd says
It’s a pretty serious allergen Mackie but I can undestand your confusion. I’ve no idea why but it’s one of the top 13 allergens that must be labelled on ingredients. Just read some of the comments above to see how much it can affect people and it also contains apiginens (sp!) which are thought to be at the root of the allergy issue.
It’s nice to know one is not alone. I went into anaphylactic shock a few years ago. It was a complete surprise having eaten things I’ve eaten every day for years. Turns out, after testing, that I am allergic to celery and sesame seeds…two of the most ubiquitous substances on earth and in so much of the food we eat. Believe me, you don’t want to go through anaphylactic shock more than once in a lifetime. I try to stay away from everything in the parsley family, which includes celery, carrots and many other common ingredients. It makes for a bland meal, but I keep thinking how much better it is to be alive. Sesame seeds is another story. I stopped eating fast food…good grief, there are sesame seeds everywhere. Asian restaurants..sesame seed oil! I lost a lot of weight so that’s a good thing. I miss all that flavor but let me tell you, it’s a hell of a lot better than anaphylactic shock.
You can still get flavour, you just need to experiment, but yes, bland food is often better wehn you have allergies. Lots of spices and herbs can cause reactions. Garlic, onions and just good old salt and pepper, and ginger and lemon juice and honey and mustard can all add great flavours. Be brave and try out new recipes at home.
Yep…it is an allergen…I am living proof. Apparently, it’s the top allergen in Europe. Here in the states it’s peanuts. I believe that in Europe it is law to list celery as an ingredient. Here in the US it is most likely included in “natural flavors” and is seldom listed. The good news is I can eat foods where the celery has been highly processed, but if the ingredients list “celery” (or anything in the parsley family), my wife won’t let me touch it. Here’s a funny tip…any deli meat, including bacon, that says it’s not cured with nitrates is actually cured with celery powder WHICH IS HIGH IN NITRATES!. So be wary of “healthy” foods. That one always makes me laugh. I am always amazed at the products that say “no nitrates” that are cured with high nitrate celery. Who is kidding who?
Yes celery is listed on everything – thank goodness. I have the allergy too and I’m in the UK. and yes, I’ve been caught with the hidden in meat thing – best to stay clear of most processed stuff with nitrates in it. Shouldn’t be allowed. Nitrates are nitrates. Just be honest! Cheating that’s what I call it. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the tip on celery and nitrates. My son is highly allergic to celery. I have also found that restaurants will frequently use celery in pasta sauces so I always ask about that when we eat out.
I was diagnosed as allergic to birch, alder, timothy, brome, dust, cats, dogs when I was in my mid thirties. As a teenager I went through allergy testing and came up negative. I should have asked for a second opinion. Celery was always a favourite of mine – didn’t care that it made my mouth tingle and go numb – thought it did that to everyone…
Went for ‘desensitization’ shots after positive diagnosis. Was told I would be able to eat what ever I wanted after a year of treatment. Nothing got better. Went for a repeat test and new allergies showed up (for various plants). Total waste of time and money! In fact, I believe the shots made my allergies worse. I now cannot go near celery in any form. Seeds are the most potent for allergy inducing symptoms – so beware all forms of seasoning that may contain celery. It is VERY common in commercial mixed seasonings. All parts of the plant contain the allergy inducing protein, so it is not safe to eat the leaves, stalk or root (celeriac) in any form. Cooking does not destroy the protein. If you are allergic (not just sensitive) to celery do NOT substitute fennel in your recipes. It is related and can cause reactions.
Pacific foods chicken broth is the only commercially prepared chicken stock that I will have in my house (Campbell’s does not contain celery, but is an inferior product taste-wise.)
Never eat soup that you did not prepare yourself; nine point nine times out of ten there will be celery in some form.
Always ASK if there is celery in any form in the dish you are considering ordering. If the chef is unsure, pick something else. I have, on a few occasions (and mostly at Italian restaurants), had the chef offer to make something celery free just for me. Always appreciated – alway ask!
Red sauces are almost never safe – not worth the risk.
Most seasoning salts are full of celery, so rethink those spicy fries, cajun chicken, etc.
I have been to one chain pub in Calgary that has its recipes in a binder with EVERY ingredient listed – wow! I wish all chains would do this. I understand it would not work for independent restaurants, but their chefs are almost always aware of all ingredients.
Oh, and never assume because you’ve eaten there before it’s safe. This whole ‘rant’ started because reading this post/article reminded me you can never assume. My husband and I ordered a guilty pleasure (chicken-on-the-way) on the weekend. We have been eating from this family run establishment for thirty years. I commented on how flavourful the gravy was – yep, you guessed it.
It was not a fun night. Lesson learned – again.
Oh, and just to show that very few people are sympathetic to this allergy: My own father (upon learning of my allergy) said “So are you allergic to water?” Thanks Dad…
Great advice – you are clearely a cereal (geddit, another allergy joke) celery avoider, as am I. It pops up everywhere, and even if a chef says he hasn’t used celery, they often use a stock prepared by another chef or member of staff and unless they record the ingredients for staff on later shifts they cannot know how it was made. I don’t think it’s understood enough how bad our reactions can be. Drives me mad but I rarely eat out and never risk soup or sauces or gravy. Don’t trust them. I make my own stock, save up 2 chicken carcasses and make batches to freeze. I have tried making in the slow cooker and it works really well, and avoids the problem or forgetting you put the pan on to simmer and boiling the stock dry – I’ve done that twice now much to my husbands annoyance… YOu cannot beat homemade stock. I also take a flask with my restaurants with my own gravy/soup. I speak to them before and most are more than happy for me to do this rather than risk getting somethign wrong and making me ill. Better to stay safe. Regarding comments I don’t think people really think before speaking. I continually get asked, “Can you eat these? Can you eat cheese? Can I use this packet colemans sauce mix? Can you eat yogurt? NO I AM STILL ALLERGIC TO X, Y, Z – IT HAS NOT CHANGED. MY ALLERGY HAS NOT DISAPPEARED… I CAN NEVER EAT DAIRY, NUTS, WHEAT, SOYA OR CELERY or the best one… what can you eat? dust? To which I must reply, no, I’m allergic to dust too! You have to laugh or you’d cry. Or “What can you eat? Fresh air?” Just lovely.
I hear you Vicki, about your Dad’s comment.
But notice if it was a peanut allergy. Suddenly you’re taken seriously. And celery allergy can be as deadly as peanut allergies.
L Sane says
I tested positive for birch, trees, and grasses when I was in my early twenties. A severe reaction to a bee sting prompted the extensive testing. After desensitization shots, I no longer reacted to bee stings. In my fifties, a wasp stung me and I freaked out believing an anaphylatic reaction was just around the corner. Nothing happened. I applied Benadryl and there was absolutely no reaction, not even a raised area. Compared to my earlier reaction I was relieved.
I no longer react to birch or grasses. However, I’ve got a problem after someone mows a lawn with the offending grass. It dissipates after the grass settles.
I just recently discovered that cilantro is related to coriander. And coriander is in the parsley family. I’m allergic to all of the parsley family. Ugh!
Look at cross allergens. You’ve got several families of vegetables and fruits.
FYI: The family is called parsley or carrot family (If you think about it parsley family makes more sense. Anything which resembles parsley anywhere on the plant.) and that includes parsley (of course), celery, carrots, angelica, anise, caraway, celeriac, celery seed, celery leaf, chervil, coriander, cilantro, cumin, dill, dill seed, fennel, gotu kola, lovage, parsnip, and sweet cicely.
Ever since I discovered I was allergic to parsley, I stopped eating this whole family of spices and foods.
Wow am learning to live with this allergy. My attacks start off slow (Lip itching swelling ) and than am in the bathroom and hive city. One time so far had difficulty breathing but for now just taking the benadryl seems to help. But lately it seems to be happening more. So Didn’t know about lunch meet. Thank you for that tip and everyone else on here with their stories. Now I don’t feel weird lol. Wish in the states they would label better. Just found out gold fish have celery in the spice. At least they are listing it. Again thank you everyone and good luck.
Thanks for the comment Moe and glad to hear you’re getting your head around a particularly nasty allergy. It does get easier. And I find that taking antihistamines early and sitting calmly rather than panicking and rushing around can mean the difference between a mild attack and something far worse. Depends how much allergen you consumed and how soon your body alerts you to it so you stop eating. Look out for those early signals and take swift action. Stay safe.
By the way, the clue to knowing if you might have an allergic reaction to a food is that once you eat it, you experience a burning sensation in your mouth and throat. It’s not like eating a hot pepper, where the pain is actually a pleasure and is expected. It’s more like, oh man, this really hurts to eat this. It tastes good but it causes a burning, itching sensation in your mouth and throat. I get this with celery, carrots as well as melons which I stopped eating years ago because of the pain they caused me. It’s a clue, that’s all I’m saying.
It’s a pretty big clue really and not a nice one. Does anyone else get this with celery, carrots and melons?
My throat and gums get itchy with many raw vegetables – including carrots. I can eat them no problem once cooked though.
Melons are one of the few fruit/veggies i can eat with no problems…it seems that anything crunchy give me the issue
I recently learned I am allergic to celery after a cup of celery/carrot juice.great way to find out! After that, I started reading labels more carefully and to my dismay, found out uncured bacon contains celery powder. Wouldn’t that add nitrites to my uncured bacon too! Looks like I have to make a call to our local organic farmer for my next bacon purchase.
Bacon is an annoying one – just why? Why? It’s just to add hidden nitrates, as you say, which is just wronge really. Though I guess not many people have this allergy so most people are better off. My local butchers are great but ask, and double check ingredients. I got all my Christmas meat from my local farm shop (Kings Farm shop in Wendover). They did Gluten free chipolatas, sausagemeat etc.
Hello, I was diagnosed with FDEIA about 2 yrs ago after having my second child and 2 trips to the hospital. I have been allergic to carrots since I was a pre-teen (along with all melons) and have always been extremely careful. I didn’t make the connection to celery right away because I had never had a reaction (but interestingly have never cared for celery and only ate it if it was cooked in things like soup). After the 2nd trip to the hospital I started putting all the puzzle pieces together and had self diagnosed before I even made it to the allergist. I am thankful the process of figuring everything out was a relatively quick one, especially since I was home alone with my 2 small children when I had the second attack! It has been interesting to realize how many things contain celery (lunch meat, spice packets etc) and my new rule is never exercise after eating anything processed or anything I didn’t make myself. I learned the hard way after a 3rd more mild reaction after eating something with a “spice mix” on the list of ingredients. I now carry an epi-pen (which I should have been doing anyway because of the carrots and melons) and continue to be very careful of food and when I exercise. Really hope all the info here helps others who are still struggling!
Hi Catherine, sorry to hear that but at least once you know what you’ve got you can deal with it. It is hidden everywhere isn’t it? In the UK celery MUST be labelled on foods and it should be, so if it’s not you should contact the manufacturer. Sounds like you are on the right tracks but it’s not easy coping with two small kids I’m sure. Do they have any allergies? Good luck with avoiding the cellery hellery.
I have FDEIA as well however it is not related to any specific food. My husband and I want to get pregnant but my allergist and high risk OB are having us wait because they are unsure how FDEIA effects pregnancy. They believe that higher levels of progesterone along with more blood flow will make me/anyone with FDEIA digest slower and “work out” harder all of the time and they are concerned for safety.
What was your pregnancy with FDEIA like?
Thanks so much for your help 🙂
I have FDEIA as well however it is not related to any specific food. My husband and I want to get pregnant but my allergist and hirisk OB are having us wait because they are unsure how FDEIA effects pregnancy. They believe that higher levels of progesterone along with more blood flow will make me/anyone with FDEIA digest slower and “work out” harder all of the time and they are concerned for safety.
What was your pregnancy with FDEIA like?
Thanks so much for your help 🙂
Franco Falcone says
Please beware that it is not correct that Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon (organic and non organic) does not contain celery. At least in powder form, both organic and non-organic products DO contain celery. As you said – celery can kill, therefore you need to be very careful with making or believing such a claim. Always check yourself!
Hi Franco, are you sure? I’ve got a packet here and celery is not listed. I am going to contact them to check, as it’s not listed in the ingredients. I know some of their products do, but the small green packet called Vegetable Bouillon, as pictured above, as far as I know doesn’t contain celery. But if I’m wrong then you are very right to point this out. I’ll check with them. Because if it’s not listed then it definitely should be. Unless they have changed their recipe recently? I haven’t bought it for a while.
I’ve checked and you are right that SOME do contain celery, but the Yeast free and gluten free variety, as pictured above, and not so easy to get hold of I have to say, does NOT contain celery. I did check carefully before listing it here and since I have an allergy myself would not be able to use this product without it making me ill. l
Hi Franco, are you sure? I’ve got a packet here and celery is not listed. I am going to contact them to check, as it’s not listed in the ingredients. I know some of their products do, but the small green packet called Vegetable Bouillon, as pictured above, as far as I know doesn’t contain celery. But if I’m wrong then you are very right to point this out. I’ll check with them. Because if it’s not listed then it definitely should be. Unless they have changed their recipe recently? I haven’t bought it for a while.
Franco Falcone says
I cannot be sure whether the Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon actually does contain celery, but it is very clearly listed as an ingredient. So one would assume that it is contained. Applies to organic, vegan and standard bouillon, whether powder or cubes.
Franco, I have been in touch with Marigold (their website is not ever so helpful as far as ingredients goes) and this is what they said:
There is no celery in the Green box yeast free gluten free Marigold Cubes. The other two cubes – Red box and Low Salt Purple box – do contain celery. Re cross contamination – our Swiss manufacturers clean their highly sophisticated machinery between production runs, so there is no cross contamination.
Thanks goodness for that. So we do have some celery free stock cubes from Marigold. They are hard to find in shops but I get them from Goodness Direct online.
It’s interesting to hear how prevalent the celery allergy is in Europe. You are fortunate that your packaging so clearly labels it. My youngest son has highly allergic to it (anaphalytic) for over 10 years. He is also allergic to peanuts, all tree nuts and peas to the same degree as celery. In the U.S., celery is hardly ever identified and it makes eating out and traveling challenging. I have found through experience that some form of celery can be used to flavor the following foods (where we wouldn’t expect it) – hot dogs, lunch meats, marinara sauce, pulled pork. And it is next to impossible to find a soup that he can eat outside of our home!
I have a fairly fast and severe reaction to celery and any related by products of it. Once a ward Sister suggested I be tested for other allergens which may have commonalities. I tested positive for a hypersensitivity to Diuretics and (some) teas!! I have noticed that my allergic reaction is incredibly amplified if I eat products that also include caraway seeds and anise. This causes the most instant severe reaction Ive ever had which saw my airway narrow and respiration depress. That was from eating my favourite of all foods –the humble Polish Kabano sausage! Similar reactions from some German garlic boiling ring sausage can be had. I now carefully check ingredients on them where possible, and never buy from deli counters where I cant see the list myself. Other bad culprits are Czech Klobasa sausages–but again checking ingredient lists can help avoid. I find deli counters in Czech rep and Germany much more approachable and helpful in checking details of ingredients than here in the UK. Another point to be aware of is if you are in hospital — make sure the kitchen chef or rep comes onto the ward to see you, otherwise you’ll end up in trouble as Ive discovered. Even if you tell staff on admission of a severe food allergy this NEVER seems to be passed on to the kitchens so you can be offered a safe alternative menu. As for tea allergy, its only certain brands that get me band then it varies in severity–but never as bad as my celery one, ever. Diuretics cause massive water blisters, mouth ulcers, strong stomach pains and painfull urine passing.
Hope some of this helps someone on here as I suffered for years and was even accused of being a liar or hypochondriac! celery is used in so many foods its ridiculous. I don’t have pork scratchings or kfc’s which always made me feel ill—now I know why….theyre packed with celery extracts, celeriac, seeds, caraway and anise!! so much for the colonels secret mix of herbs and spices!!!!
I do have an oral allergy syndrome type reaction to celery. It doesn’t cause full-blown anaphylactic shock, but my throat and ears get itchy and my mouth kind of swells up. I have no problems if it’s cooked though.
You’re really lucky! Keep on eating that cooked celery. OAS is so weird. You couldn’t make it up could you. People think you’re mad.
Hi I am wondering if I am suffering with an allergy to celery. I never really eat it because I dislike the taste. However since starting a diet I have put it into a couple of dishes this week and I have a rash across my chest that look like a bad case of acne! I wouldn’t say it’s itchy but it’s unsightly. Thinking back I woke in the morning with a dusty feeling throat. I took antihistamine but it didn’t do much to the rash. Celery is the only thing I can think of that’s different as I don’t really eat it anyway. I must be ok with things like stock cubes etc. I have changed my face cream but it can’t be that cause my face is not affected and its only used on my face, lol! Any help in this matter would be great!
Hi Elaine, the only way to work it out for sure is to stop eating it again and see if the rash clears up. Then experiment again with eating the celery. Since it’s not giving you anything serious, just a nasty rash this should be a good way of making sure. Do be aware though that these reactions can change over time. What was an itchy throat and rash one week might be slightly worse of different the next so do very careful and if you experience any kind of shortness of breath, tightening of the throat etc. get medical help immediately!!! Celery is a very common allergen in Europe but not so much in the UK where I am. I get a kind of eczema rash kind of reaction when I eat celery which is unbearably itchy and makes me look like I’m almost purple with sunburn. Lovely!
I am in the uk as well and it’s the only thing I could think of that’s been really different from the norm. I get this rash now and again and it could possibly be the now and again times that I have maybe consumed celery. I have asked the pharmacist but that wasn’t really helpful because they went through all the washing powder stuff etc but am thinking if it was that surely I would be covered and I’m not 🙁
Nikki G says
I know this is and old post but I just came across it. I’m a 33 y/o female and just realized yesterday I’m allergic to celery. I thought it made everyone’s mouth numb. my family swore that I was insane. But
After reading your article I now realize how serious this can be. Thank you!!
You are definitely not insane. There are lots of us out here! Celery allergy is very real.
Since childhood, the smell of celery has made me feel sickly. If I’m just near the plant, I have to get away fast. And if by accident I do bite into a piece, I gag terribly. Since I never actually vomited, my parents didn’t believe me. However, a few years ago, my eldest son began complaining of the same thing. He really didn’t know what celery smelled like because it is never in our household. A woman at the grocery store had a cart full of celery as she was on her way to make a big batch of gumbo! My son did not see what made him sickly, he just was overcome by the “scent” of celery! The woman was checking out in the isle next to where we were. A relief to find out I wasn’t as crazy as everyone thought I was about celery!! I shiver at the thought of the smell and ill-feeling that overcomes me. And now, celery has the same affect of my son!
Me too, first time I ate some I hated it. I can smell it a mile off. I cannot stand the taste. It’s the most disgusting thing ever. And very interesting that this seems to be hereditary… you are most definitely going mad. Celery is the devil’s good. Yuk!
I also have a celery allergy, though I don’t suffer from hay fever, etc. I get anaphylaxis when I eat celery raw, but thus far I haven’t gotten it when it’s cooked. I try to stay away from it just in case. When I do come into contact with raw celery and I experience the tingling and my throat feeling tight and constricted, I chug water and that has always helped to get rid of the shock. Since then I carry a bottle of water with me everywhere I go.
Interesting about the water, I’ve found tea helps too, or even sometimes ice cream. This was back in the terrifying days before I had any kind of adrenalin or treatment for this anaphylaxis thing. Raw celery is just about the MOST disgusting thing on the planet after peanuts which my body also finds pretty horrible. The smell, the taste, the thought of either. I think with celery I only get a really bad reaction after exercise. But even cooked celery will give me terrible terrible eczema for about a week. Just not worth it.
Just come across your site.
I became allergic to celeriac about 15 years ago. At the time I was living in Germany and got appalling hay fever when wormwood was flowering in the summer.
I’m also allergic to tuna fish, having ended up in the emergency room twice after doing sport on the same day I’d eaten tuna. I can’t eat sunflower seeds and cumin (and any curries are very risky as you never really know what the spice mixes are) or drink camomile tea. I sometimes get hay fever when birch trees are flowering. Strangely, the hay fever is not anywhere near as bad now I’m back in the UK. However the sport-induced allergy is scary. The latest episode was when they thought it might be wheat that caused it but the tests were negative. I hadn’t eaten anything I could be remotley allergic to that day – but it was springtime.
Now I only do sport outside in the morning – after breakfast
I’ve come to the conclusion the medical profession is guessing half the time too.
Acupuncture really helps build up resistance to hay fever, I’ve found but I still have to carry an epipen (for the sport-induced allergy) and anti-histamines all the time.
“Free&Easy celery free gravy sauce mix – Again, the only gravy granules sauce mix I’ve found that do not contain celery is Free & Easy Gluten Free vegetable gravy sauce mix. It’s also free from dairy, tomatoes, gluten, yeast…
Ingredients: brown rice flour, cornstarch, hydrolysed vegetable protein, extract of roasted barley malt, powdered onion, sea salt and ground pepper.
This product is guaranteed gluten free too.”
Alas, extract of roasted barley malt contains Gluten!
Hi Ruth, When I was four my older brother was diagnosed with Cow Milk Allergy but I didn’t ever really know what that was. My co-worker’s son might have it too so I looked it up. I saw that Anaphylaxis was a potential symptom which got me thinking.
I’ve always avoided celery: I hate the way it tastes and smells and my tongue goes numb if I eat it raw (and tingly if it’s cooked). I never really thought it was anything to worry about as I can eat around the awful stuff and be fine but after looking up Milk Allergies I wanted to see. Gosh I scared myself! My brother couldn’t avoid milk – it really is in everything an 8 year old eats – but I can and could avoid celery (cereal for breakfast I made my own lunch by the time I was 6 or 7 and a little bit cooked with dinner once ore twice a week was bearable). I have to wonder what would have happened if I couldn’t? I wonder if I would have an Epinephrine pen.
Thank you so much for posting this.
It might have been a good thing to do what you did, persevere with small amounts though I am not for a minute suggesting anyone reading this starts to experiment at home if they have a diagnosed anaphylactic reaction to an allergen, it could be very dangerous. However maybe you have avoided getting worse reactions in later life! Reason to be thankful.
I stumbled on your site trying to understand why I get so sick from the smell of celery. I lost my sense of smell following an illness three plus years ago. I couldn’t smell anything for several months, then got dysnosmia (distorted smells) from the few things I could smell, mostly foods or materials with aldehydes. I still can’t smell most things, not even ammonia, natural gas or outhouses :). But celery I can smell a mile away, and it doubles me over with nausea. Don’t know that it’s an allergy because I can’t possibly eat it now, but my sweetheart just came home after visiting a friend and I could smell him two rooms away– the friend made a snack plate of celery and cheeses. Even after he brushed his teeth and hands I can smell it. Hmmm.
WOW that is amazing. I too hate the smell of celery. Truly horrible. Sounds like it could be an allergy – don’t eat any! I wonder why you can still smell celery – kind of annoying you can’t smell all the nice things any more :o(
I haven’t eaten out since 2012 after my reaction to the taco salad. I miss doing that.
I find it interesting that people with other allergies think that my allergies to celery and carrots is not as bad as theirs. For instance, my son is allergic to shellfish. He avoids it and yet believes a little bit of carrot or beta-carotene isn’t going to hurt me. What’s with that attitude? An allergy is an allergy.
My husband is the shopper in my family. He says it’s like a hunt trying to find packaged items which don’t have caramel color and spices on the labels. I discovered that most caramel color is beta-carotene which is carrots. Lovely.
I love cream soda and root beer soda. After a repeated reaction to this one root beer, I figured out that caramel color was the culprit. I rarely drink soda pops. Sometimes I enjoy a rootbeer float especially with my homemade wholewheat pizza. Let’s see, last time I had soda pop was about two or three months ago. It took a week of heavy shopping for my husband to find a cream soda and a root beer without caramel color aka beta-carotene. Luckily he enjoys the hunt.
I have only eaten out very rarely for years so I know where you’re coming from. I have found the odd place and done the whole military planning now a few times but this year, I’ve gone way out of my comfort zone. Mainly because of work – it would almost be rude to say no kind of thing. So far it’s gone OK. I think people do think some allergies are serious, like nuts, but tend to things others not so. It has taken many mishaps from friends, myself and family to prove how sensitive I am. And just because you may not go into anaphylaxis one time does NOT mean less caution should be taken – my allergies are dose related so often I can get away with a mild reaction but by mild I don’t mean easy. Days of pain, bloating, skin reactions, eczema flares and really feel pretty awful. You also cannot guess how bad a reaction might be, there are so many other factors like stress, exercise, alcohol, menses, seasonal over loading of other allergies etc. I’ll cook for you Patricia – I hate to think of you never going out. Promise you will start to research for some safe places. There must be some local restaurants who would prepare something celery and carrot free. If I can eat out nut, dairy, wheat, soya, celery and tomato free then you can too. Where do you live?
An update on my allergies. I am now allergic to the entire parsley family. I took this supplement which contained parsley and started itching all over every time I took it. I finally nailed down the culprit, parsley leaf.
Carrots, celery, parsnip, caraway, dill, chervil, sweet cicely, cumin, coriander, anise, fennel, parsley. All part of the parsley family. And I’ve had a reaction to carrots, celery, parsnip, dill, and parsley. I don’t want to even try the rest. I’ve tossed out any spices in my cupboard in this group.
I was diagnosed with anaphylaxis to celery over 10 years ago. My family during the holidays still have trouble remembering every time that I have an allergy. I get asked each time “since when?”. Even my adult daughter laughs at them and she now speaks up saying for years! I was not aware that it contains nitrates, this explains so much! As a child I was sensitive to nitrates, I would get sick to my stomach and have headaches. At least I can educate others on what is in celery that I’m reacting to. Unfortunately, I thought I would try a little celery the other day and today I’m cramping, dizzy and feel nauseous. After reading the comments, I realize that I will probably not out grow this allergy, so back to avoidance of it again.
Sarah D says
Im quite allergic to celery, carrot and pumpkin (anaphalaxis reaction, itcht ears, mokd drops and throat tightens) and it makes meal times fruatrating at best as i enjoy my veggies. Ive been given an epi pen but havent had to use it as of yet (yay) but very difficult to know the ingredients used when it is say a vegetable soup or an unknown name on the label which makes me miss out on potentially tasty meals. As i said, very frustrating!
Hi Sarah, yes avoiding celery is tough but I can eat carrots. They are in so many meals too so I can see how hard that must be. Regarding your epipen, don’t worry about using it. You will know when you need to and take it from me, it doesn’t hurt at all. I was so scared the first time I used one but it is really not that bad. If in doubt, inject I think. Take care. 🙂
I have recently found out after many blood tests that i have Oral Birch Allergy and this summer after a terrible three months of raid heart beat and cardio issues it seems that celery is the main concern. I am a chef and generally good at checking ingredients as i cook for several nut allergy clients but this is really prooving tricky. I fell foul today after eating my beloved Marmite. Since this was the only food I had had in the day and it was two hrs later, I cehcked the jar with no real thought that this would be an issue. On some jars its noted and others not but on the online ingredient celery extract is there in bold! This has answerd some questions on days when I was cutting all foods and still suffering symptoms. Celery is in so many things even refines garlic powder. It is provving quite the challenge and one i m not winning well so far.
Vicki Baker says
I feel your pain! The UK commonly lists any form of celery on their labels, but even that is not assured. I have not had a soup in a restaurant for at least a decade – it is not worth the risk. For me, if the celery is very minimal I will suffer the consequences, but not excruciatingly so…
I don’t think I’ve had a problem with garlic powder, but will now have to rethink mild reactions when I get lazy and don’t use fresh…
On another note, I never use vegetable based products produced commercially – ever!
I recently began manifesting a few sensitivity symptoms to celery sticks. The one not specifically in your description is an effect on my vocal cords. The feeling is the same I’ve had after breathing helium. The very slight sound change to my voice is not like “helium voice” but was noticeable to others.
Sounds like a mild allergic reaction to me, when I eat nuts of dairy my throat can completely close up and my tongue swell so that I can hardly speak at all. It hurts too, like a tight burning feeling. Celery seems to just wreck my skin and cause eczema. Have you noticed that cooked celery gives you any reactions? or is it just celery sticks?
Recently, I ate some turkey jerky, delicious stuff, and my face broke out from my forehead to my chin. It took some research to discover that ‘celery root powder’ was on the list of ingredients.
I’ve kind of resorted to accepting the word ‘spice’ as an ingredient listed in a product as meaning ‘celery’ either root or leaf or extract (the worst culprit and worst reaction) or stalk.
And if the product says ‘caramel color’ or even ‘artificial caramel color’ it’s a red flag for betacarotene or carrots.
Unfortunately, in the United States manufacturers of food products are NOT required to post a warning on the products for containing celery and/or carrots. I wish they’d change that reality and soon. Hunt and peck during shopping is a drag. And not being able to dine out ever again… 🙁
My son (12) reacts to ALL celery/carrot family items. He doesn’t have anaphylaxis but has major headache, seizure like and paranoid/hallucination episodes. Seems celery and paprika being the worst offenders. I am wondering if nightshades are involved too. We have not had allergy testing but don’t know if it would be beneficial at this point. Thank you for the article and everyone’s stories/responses.
Strange how certain foods can have this reaction for some people. Very frustrating but I’m glad you got to the bottom of it for your son – that reaction sounds horrible.
“For this reason celery is noted on allergy labelling with as much importance as peanut.”
Is this a joke or something? I’ve never once in my life seen celery listed among allergens. Companies are even allowed to conveniently hide it in “spices!” Don’t believe the crap that’s posted here. Read the WHOLE label.
Errr Dan… just in case you didn’t realise this is a UK blog. In the UK Celery is most definitely in the Top 14 allergens as it is across Europe. If you are based in the US then I think you may be far worse off as they don’t label it at all. I do take offense at your comment about ‘the crap that is posted here’, but I’ll let that go because I know how utterly rubbish having allergies is. I do agree about reading the whole label always as they are not always highlighted for easy spotting. Keep it polite in future please and you are more than welcome to comment.
L Sane says
I DO believe the “crap” posted here and have to take into account that unfortunately the US doesn’t have the same rules for celery allergies as they do in the UK.
I live in the US and I’m highly allergic to the parsley group which includes carrots, celery, dill, cilantro, coriander, and parsley (for starters).
My partner shops for our food and reads and rereads every label. It’s a pain in the butt and it’s reality here in the US. I don’t eat anything which says *spice* or *beta-carotene* or *caramel color* sure signs that carrots and celery are lurking in my food.
And still I discover the stray parsley group in my food. I now know by even more subtle signs than I noticed initially. My first sign is my rosacea goes haywire and I breakout with whiteheads on my nose and around my lips. Who ever knew my rosacea was caused by allergies to food? The next sign; I start to get a sty on my eyelid. Next my scalp breaks out in pimples. And last I get gastrointestinal problems.
I wish the US would get labels for celery allergies. It would solve many of my skin issues.
Thanks for this list. I have a mild allergy to celery and was looking for vegetable stock ideas. It causes me to have stomach cramps and I’ve always hated the taste so I try to avoid it as much as possible. I’ll have to check out that Merigold stock.
I’m allergic to celeriac. Might I also have a problem with fennel? So far so good….no reaction.
I’m allergic to celeriac but not to fennel (at least so far!) but I am now also allergic to cumin, sunflower seeds, wormwood (which is a weed/herb and flowers all over the place in mid-summer and gives me severe hay fever). I avoid celery as I assume I’d be allergic to that and don’t want to find out the hard way.
I can’t eat celery but I think I’m ok with fennel too. Not so keen on it though. Weird!
Ed Sulesky says
Lovely. I never had a problem with celery or carrots as a child. Carrots are a no as celery, celery I usually ate in a setting with carrots at holidays so I though it was from just the carrots. Had a stalk recently because im trying to eat better in my 40s & the itching tongue & mouth started right away, thank you benedryl. Funny that cooked carrots I can tolerate, cooked celery I don’t like.
I’m sticking to cucumbers & cheese burgers.
Hi Ed, thanks for the comment. This sounds like oral allergy syndrome because the cooking seems to prevent the allergic type reaction. Think courgettes, gherkins, aubergine, peppers. There’s loads of veggies out there. Good luck.
George Clayton-Jones says
Hi, This is all very interesting. Since the beginning of the New Year I have been on a diet and just recently – during the last week or two – I have been eating a great deal of celery. A couple of days ago i had a major headache which I put down to the aftermath of a cold but today I have had another big headache after eating a just about a whole celery head. Now I am fairly convinced that the celery is the cause: i will let you know.
Maybe it goes to show, everything in moderation. You might be OK with smaller amounts but celery allergy is more common than you might think. Good luck with the detective work.
I have a man extreme reaction to celery when ingested which if in raw form will swell the lips and close airways. The day before there must have been something in the lamb pie / gravy or mash from the vendor, despite then confirming they don’t have celery. My breathing is hyper, my stomach starts to push out over my diaphragm herniating under my rib cage. I found an emergency benedryl tablet in my wallet. Thanks to quick reactions from the nhs ambulance teams in London I was ok in the end. The asphyxia was causing me to collapse at the office and for my hands to go into seizure so couldn’t use a phone to summon help.
Benedryl and an Epi pen should be on everyone’s daily carry if they know someone who has this level of reaction – please lookout for them and check they are themselves prepared to alert someone for help.
Kevin Berry says
i cannot eat raw celery or even anything that has touched/been touched by it.
my throat closes and simply will not allow me to swallow.
however, once cooked the problem is removed and I enjoy braised celery and celery soup, leading me to believe it is enzymes that are destroyed/broken down in the cooking process, that are the problem
L Sane says
You’re lucky Kevin. I reached the point where celery in any form, raw or cooked bothers me. I’ve read that this type of allergy can start off as problems with raw and turn into all forms of celery.
I’ve recently embarked on a prolonged study of my allergies and discovered that I’ve got many more than I originally believed. Here’s the list I’ve compiled over the summer of 2016:
Xylitol – it can be made from birch trees and those are related to the parsley family.
Blue and Yellow Food Dyes
Annatto – causes worse reaction than parsley family.
Balsamic Vinegar – aged in successive barrels of woods including chestnut which is related to latex.
Port Wine, Sweet Wine, Sherries, Spanish Brandies – aged just like balsamic vinegar.
BZK and Tricolsan
Brown Rice Syrup
Sensitivities to oranges, honeydew, and tomato – face breaks out; diarrhea
WOW that’s some list and some really unusual ones. How did you work out what you were reacting to?
L Sane says
It was a process of elimination coupled with research. If I reacted to a meal I ate, I took away an ingredient the next time I ate it. If I still reacted to the meal, I researched all of the ingredients to determine if there were any correlations to known allergens.
One of those hunts for the truth showed the possible connection to Balsamic Vinegar. I love the stuff. A big red flag. If I’m allergic to something I crave it. After reading about Balsamic Vinegar and how it’s made I knew I had the culprit. It’s aged in successive barrels of wood. One of them is chestnut, and it’s related to latex. I’ve had the latex allergy since 2007. The aging process for the Balsamic Vinegar piqued my interest too for certain aged alcoholic beverages which have given me problems. I stopped drinking any alcohol ages ago (30+ years) because of my reaction to them. I’d swell up all over.
Some of the other allergies or sensitives I listed I suspected three years ago or more. Those include blue and yellow food dyes, oranges, honeydew, tomato, and annatto. Of course the longer I ate them, the worse the symptoms got.
I had a severe reaction to annatto around March/April 2016. Though at the time I wasn’t certain it was annatto. Again, process of elimination. I was not allergic to popcorn, the main ingredient in the food, so that left annatto because all the rest of the ingredients don’t bother me. My symptoms included high blood pressure, heart palpitations, severe gastrointestinal upset, and aching joints.
I suspected blue and yellow dyes due to gastrointestinal reactions to colored candy which occurred when I ate some Skittles. That was the last time I ate Skittles. I’m like that with something I’m allergic to. I quit eating it because I dislike the reaction to it. I found many more products with blue and/or yellow food dye in them and removed them from my diet. These food dyes cause a similar reaction as the annatto.
I found blue food dye in my toothpaste and dental floss. Every time I used them my nose and lips itched. During that research I discovered that every toothpaste had a suspect allergen except ones with another food dye, titanium dioxide, whitener. I hope I don’t have a reaction to that. From that experience, I started washing my lips and area around them after using any type of toothpaste. I still do that.
I made an error above. It’s not brown rice syrup. I’m allergic to agave syrup. It causes gastrointestinal upset and achy joints similar to the food dyes. I’ve read that many people have reactions to agave syrup.
Food dyes are in the medicine I take daily. I’m in the process of getting my insurance company to approve of another one without any food dyes.
I’ve always had problems with honeydew giving me a sore throat. I don’t eat much of it because of that.
Orange juice is problematic however oranges are not. Orange juice is concentrated. I think that may be the reason.
Tomatoes are a borderline sensitivity. If I eat too much tomato sauce, too often then it’s a problem. My face breaks out and my one eyelid gets a stye.
And xylitol is suspect because it’s made from birch trees. Though it can be made from corn. Manufacturers who use xylitol switch back and forth between birch trees and corn. So I’ve had to stop eating and using anything with xylitol in it. It’s the newest thing in toothpaste and mouthwash.
In addition, I found a lot of help conversing with fellow allergy sufferers on a forum called “my food allergy team.”
Celery does not break down when cooked infact its one vegetable that actually multiplies the bad bit when cooked, thus making it extremely dangerous for those who ingest it without knowing in conidements like marmite, magi seasoning (celery is only used in some countries for tis product and not in others for the same labeled product) and refined garlic powders……beware.
L Sane says
I recently discovered that the very medicine I was using for my recent itchiness has yellow dye in it. Lovely. It’s Chlor-Trimeton. I can’t believe Chlor-Trimeton doesn’t make a dye-free version.
So what would happen is I’d take the allergy relief medicine and get itch free. Then four hours later when it wore off, I’d be even itchier. I stopped taking it all together.
Benadryl just came out with a dye-free version. Thank goodness. The only downside is that it comes in gel caps. I can’t divide the dose like I like to do.
My insurance company approved the change to a dye-free medicine. In the meantime before it arrives, I’ll itch and itch and itch. UGH! I can’t take the Benadryl everyday because it makes me drowsy. Darn. That’s what I liked about Chlor-Trimeton.
L Sane says
I just found out that Benadryl doesn’t work for drug related allergic reactions. UGH!
I’ve had anaphylactic shock once and anaphylaxis once. In both instances it was exercised induced. The first time I had eaten peanuts, which I knew I had a mild and inconsistent reaction to. So I never guessed that the real culprit was celery or at least things related to celery. On the first occasion it was Indian food with cumin, coriander, and cilantro in it. And in the second case I had potato salad with celery and dill in it. It doesn’t seem to bother me too much if I don’t exercise afterward (just mild swelling of the mouth/lips or a few hives).
I’m allergic to celeriac, sunflower seeds (not oil), camomile, cumin and get hay fever when wormwood flowers in the summer. I also have an exercise-induced allergy which is potentially the most dangerous. It always involves a visit to A&E. Unfortunately despite the tests they don’t know what causes it. An enzyme in wheat was suspected but the tests ruled it out. I’m not convinced as I had eaten wheat earlier in the day in some form or other every time. It also always happened in the evening so now I usually take an antihistamine if I exercise then and am very very careful what I eat at lunch.
I was reading about honey allergy that someone I know has. I’d not heard of it before, so I was researching it. I came across the fact that people with honey allergies often have an allergy to celery. “Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to celery…” http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/honey/safety/hrb-20059618
Do you know what the correlation/connection is?
L Sane says
Well it’s not true for me with my celery allergy. I’m not allergic to honey.
I wonder if it’s the mold that can sometimes form in honey. I’m allergic to mold.
I now have added black pepper, strawberries, and tomatoes to my allergies. They are all on the OAS list I found online. Black pepper is related to Mugwort and that in turn is related to all sorts of vegetables and spices and one herb, chamomile.
I suspect onion may be an issue too. It’s on the Mugwort list as well as bell pepper, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, garlic, and parsley. I’ve got issues already with everything but broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and garlic.
And I have problems with artificial flavor in anything but especially if in chocolate. It makes me quite ill.
I’ve sworn off all food dyes as I just had a reaction to Red #40. I had a small amount and it took 12 hours for it to get to me and cause a reaction.
L Sane says
Another possible correlation could be the fact that different pollens are taken up when bees do their business. Tree pollens, especially birch, could be the culprit, because being allergic to birch could make one have cross allergies to parsley, celery, and carrot among many other foods most of which are on the parsley family list.
Richard Morris says
I have contact allergies for Balsam Peru, Cinnamal and Geraniol.
Allergy to Grass and Silver Birch pollen.
Cross allergies for Celery, Carrots, Nuts, most fruits especially citrus.
All of these will bring out eczema. Celery and candid peel are the real nasty ones.
I know within 15 minutes. They cause my throat to close, dizziness and incoherent speech.
My Consultant at the Hospital has been brilliant. My GP is a fool who ignores the consultant and tells me I’ll grow out of it. I have taken to wearing a Medic Alert bracelet in case I do have an anaphylactic shock.
Vicki Baker says
You NEED to get an EpiPen ASAP and learn how to use it! Now!
Vicki Baker says
If you are allergic to celery or cross react to it, you should consider eliminating everything from the “apiaceae” family of plants…
L Sane says
Apiaceae or the parsley family…got it figured out all ready. Which is also called the carrot family. Confusing. If I just cover birch tree pollen and the OAS which goes with that, which is basically the parsley family, it covers everything I’m allergic to or could possibly be allergic to at some point in time.
I so thought I was the weirdest person and on my own with this I’m allergic to celery. I kept being told this isn’t common. But soon as I smell it in a room for on table for a buffet or in supermarket I immediately start to have really bad gag reflexes & if I eat it omg I’m violently sick for ages I’m same if celery is in any ingredients I feel immediately sick.
I have to read everything up before I can buy it. I’m on slimming world plan and half frozen meals I can’t have cause they contain celery.
Ruth Holroyd says
Hi Hilary, yes i know it’s in everything isn’t it. I just get really, really itchy after eating it. I don’t get any sickness. Your body seems to be detecting it which is good and should help you avoid at least fresh celery as you can’t ever get near it by mistake but yes, so annoying how many meals contain celery.
Al Jones says
My friend got a bit faint (no conventional allergy symptoms as such) a couple of times during weeks when eating celery nearly every day in salads. Might be a coincidence.
Your website is useful for informing the public; but a little un-nerving.
The following website: http://doctormurray.com/celery-and-celery-seed-extract-are-powerful-proven-healers/ gives a (contradicting?) story saying how amazingly a particular chemical in celery might lower blood pressure. Could such a website be dangerous if people don’t know anything about celery risks?
One wonders:- if you eat celery and feel faint:- is it because a) celery helped you to get “healthy” low blood pressure, or b) you are allergic to celery and were experiencing exercise-induced-near-anaphylaxis in connection with celery consumption.
Hopefully some non-rip-off bio-chemists will soon be able to extract the healthy stuff for people without risking harm to anybody.
LISA KEATTS says
Thanks for sharing
Ruth Holroyd says
My pleasure. Thanks for the comment and thanks xxx makes a blogger’s day