This state of the art paper has been developed through EuroPrevall, a European multicentre research project funded by the European Union which aims to improve quality of life for food allergic individuals. Food allergy (whether clinically diagnosed or self-perceived) represents a major health issue in Western societies and may have a considerably greater impact on society than was previously believed. However, the social impact of food allergy has never been systematically investigated using validated instruments. Combining the information from studies on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with epidemiological data on prevalence will ultimately give some indication of the magnitude of the social impact of food allergy in Europe. HRQoL can be assessed with disease-specific questionnaires, which are being developed in EuroPrevall. These instruments will be used to identify HRQoL problems associated with food allergy, and to assess the effectiveness of interventions and to guide the development of regulatory policies.