Any type of allergen challenge test runs the risk of causing an allergic reaction. Since food challenges involve eating a possibly allergenic food, this risk is a bit higher in general than applying the food allergen to the skin (a skin food challenge) or an allergen skin test. Reactions to a food challenge can be minor and non-allergic (such as not liking the taste of the food you have been avoiding for a long time), can be minor and allergic (like becoming itchy, congested, sneezing, or having a few localized hives), can be moderate and allergic (like having a clear stomach ache, vomiting once, wheezing, or having a larger amount of localized hives), and rarely can be severe and allergic, including anaphylaxis. The risk of anaphylaxis is lower when a thorough risk assessment is performed during the process of deciding whether or not a food challenge is warranted, and also when a GOFC protocol is used rather than a straight OFC. Low and sometimes moderate-risk food challenges may be appropriate for a private clinic setting in certain situations. However, some moderate and certainly any high-risk food challenges needed for some important reason should be undertaken in a hospital setting overseen by an allergist there, just like drug allergen desensitization procedures.
There are many benefits to undergoing a food challenge at the right time. Challenging your immune system with a food of concern can give you a real-life example of how your immune system and allergy cells handle the exposure. It can also help you work through any anxiety you may feel about the food, since doing it under medical supervision will help put you initially more at ease, and the sense of accomplishment afterward and new familiarity with food can help make coming across the food out in the “real world” much less scary. When a food challenge goes well, the knowledge gained from it is often life-changing in a great way, opening the door to many new personal and social opportunities.