That said, the FDA is a post-market surveillance agency, and does not have jurisdiction over labeling before food is packaged. Therefore, in most cases, companies that violate the law will not be identified or reprimanded until after a product is on the shelves.
From 1997 to 2007, the prevalence of reported food allergies among children under the age of 18 rose by 18 percent, according to findings of a 2008 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"There's been a trend of increased allergies and that's a big question, whether it's over diagnosis, awareness or an actual increase," says Assad, adding that discrepancies in diagnosis also occur when doctors test allergies by using only a blood test.
"Some of the blood tests may not be accurate because we spread the idea of sensitization versus actual clinical reaction. Some tolerate the food if they eat it, but something can still show up in the blood, that's part of the problem."
Symptoms of food allergies include hives, swelling, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal cramps, wheezing and loss of consciousness. While a resistance to gluten, or celiac disease, is often associated with food allergies, one who is intolerant to gluten should not be mistaken as allergic to gluten.
"The allergy would be the anaphylactic, an immediate reaction, a rash, and it can even be life threatening. The intolerance or autoimmune disorder is your body attacking itself. You may not even have symptoms, but it can still be causing damage to your body," explains Bast.
Allergies can also be life-threatening, causing anaphylaxis, often resulting in shock, suffocation and inability to breath. Each year in the United States, it is estimated that there are approximately 30,000 episodes of food-induced anaphylaxis, which result in as many as 200 deaths.
ABC News' Karin Halperin contributed to this report.