I’m allergic to chilli and paprika

I tell people I’m allergic to chilli and they just don’t get it. They think I don’t like spicy food. Actually I love spicy food and used to love the taste of chilli in curries. Fortunately, I don’t have a life threatening true allergy to chilli, it’s an intolerance. I do, however, get terrible double-over tummy cramps if I eat anything with chilli or paprika in it.

Many companies have started to add chilli to their food to add flavour (especially ones that are trying to reduce fat, salt and sugar levels). Even though the food labelling laws are fairly good in Australia, it can be listed under a generic label of “spices”, which incidentally can also include MSG. It is possible to contact the company and find out precisely what the ingredients of a particular product are and I have found the majority of companies I have contacted very helpful.

Although I have had people lie to me about what is in their food. I can’t believe how ignorant people are about allergies and intolerances.

Here are some of the foods that I’ve learnt to be careful with:

  • Beetroot, tinned – containing spices. Edgell sliced beetroot in a tin is safe.
  • Greek restaurants – often sprinkle paprika over their meat, including kebabs.
  • Grill’d burgers – contain spices. They did not reply to my email to say if it was chilli or not.
  • Herbamare Spicy – contains chilli. The Original version is safe.
  • KFC – original and hot’n’spicy chicken, bbq sauces. Chips are safe.
  • McDonalds – most of their burgers contain spices.
  • The Meating Place – 100% beef sausages actually contain paprika. Their 100% pork sausages contain nutmeg.
  • Mustard – often contains spices.
  • Nandos – cross-contamination
  • Olives and pickles- often contain spices. Be wary of spoon swapping in delis and at the markets. Sandhurt Sicilian green olives are safe.
  • Red food colouring – often listed as natural as it’s paprika.
  • Red Rooster – the stuffing and the seasoning on the chicken contains spices. Ask for no salt on the chips and add your own.
  • Salami
  • Seasonings – Masterfood’s All Purpose Seasoning, Chicken Salt, Italian Herbs, Pizza Topper, etc

7 thoughts on “I’m allergic to chilli and paprika”

  1. I have exactly the same problem. Modern chefs seem to think that a dish is not complete without adding chilli. I recently travelled on an airline and the choice of main dishes was between chilli and chilli. While I don’t want to eat bland tasteless food I just wish this current fad was not quite so prevalent.

  2. i have the exact same chilli allergie and im 13 sooo it dosnt work out well when it comes to food and me because most foods today contain chillie’s which is a real hassle for me….. 🙁


    1. Yes it does hide in lots of things. I met an olive grower on the weekend who marinates the olives in chilli, but the labels on the jars said “rosemary or chilli”. I told him I couldn’t eat any of his products, so I hope he’ll think differently next time. Get the word out there and tell people.

  3. I also have an allergy to chilli. I have had several bad experiences in restaurants who have, when told I am allergic, avoided giving me food with chilli but then add a sauce which does! Be warned about those little tasters (amuse bouche?) given to you inbetween courses as well. I was given a chilli marinaded tuna on the Queen Mary liner as the Steward didn’t realise what it was.Also I used some preparatory heat rub that contains chilli oil that made me come out in a dreadful rash.

  4. I also have allergies to chili and spices.. as well as soy.. I have been sick for years.. until being diagnosed recently. I was wondering if you had any good sites that can give me some more info and “safe” food listings?

    1. Esther – You just need to get into the habit of reading food labels closely. I also email food companies to ask for their ingredients list and they are usually very helpful. I often have to clarify what “spice” really is, sometimes its OK.

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