Oral Food Challenge

Serving Size of a the Potential Allergic Food in a Slow Graded Fashion

It is considered the gold standard to rule out or determine if you have a food allergy.

An Oral Food Challenge (OFC) procedure involves eating a serving size an allergic food in a slow, graded fashion under medical supervision. It is considered the “gold standard” of allergy testing. It can help confirm that a food allergy exists or determines if a previously diagnosed food allergy has resolved. The decision to proceed with an Oral Food Challenge is complex and is influenced by medical history, age of the patient, skin prick testing, lab testing and assessment by the food allergy team.

The benefit of an oral food challenge is it has the potential to liberate you or your child’s diet to unequivocally determine if a food allergy exist. At Palos Verdes Medical Group, we are committed to adhering to very strict safety standards, including graded exposures, careful observation and appropriate post-exposure office stay. The procedure typically takes four hours with the first two hours spent eating the food and the last two hours spent observing for any reactions. Reactions may occur, although the risk is low. Our team will observe the entire time and are trained to treat all reactions.

What do patients and caregivers need to know about oral food challenges?

What is a food challenge?

An Oral Food Challenge (OFC) is a medical procedure in which a food is eaten slowly, in gradually increasing amounts, under medical supervision. This is done to accurately diagnose or rule out a true food allergy, a physical examination and vital signs are done before starting and periodically during the test. The OFC starts with a small serving of the food and after a period of time, usually 15 – 30 minutes, if no symptoms are present, a slightly larger amount is eaten.

What is Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)?

Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a gradual process involves introducing microscopic doses of the specific food protein and slowly increasing that dose over a period of time. The end goal is to dramatically decrease reactions, which will subsequently improve the quality of life for the patient and their families. It is most commonly used for desensitization to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, or milk. Each patient has a personalized treatment program and the patient’s length of time during the program will vary.