Oral Food Challenges

An Oral Food Challenge (OFC) is the gold standard of food allergy testing.  This procedure is used to determine whether or not a child is truly allergic to a food when the history and allergy testing results are inconclusive.

The OFC procedure involves feeding the child increasing amounts of the food in question under close observation by our medical and nursing staff at our Medical City Dallas office. The procedure typically takes 4 hours to complete.  The first “dose” of food is very tiny (usually less than one thousandth of a full serving).  Increasing quantities of the food are given every 20 minutes to a maximum of an age appropriate full serving.  The challenge ends either when the patient exhibits any signs of an allergic reaction (which is promptly and aggressively treated in our office), or has no reaction with a full serving of the food.

Oral food challenges are especially useful to prove that a child has lost allergic sensitivity to a previously problematic food.  Passing an OFC gives a family great confidence in allowing the child to eat as much of the food as desired without any special precautions.  A failed challenge provides an excellent opportunity to observe and treat an allergic reaction in a controlled setting under the guidance of nurses and physicians experienced in managing such reactions.

To schedule an OFC at Dallas Food Allergy Center:

  1. Discuss the pros and cons of this procedure with your DFAC physician.
  2. If an OFC is recommended, you will be directed to schedule a special appointment for this procedure through our clinical staff.
  3. Additional written instructions and a Consent for Food Oral Challenge form will be provided by DFAC clinical staff.
  4. Insurance questions are referred to our billing department.
  5. The OFC procedure is scheduled when all clinical and financial questions have been answered to your satisfaction.
  6. Because the OFC requires special attention by our physicians and nursing staff, this procedure cannot be performed during a routine office visit.