Egg allergy is the second most common allergy in infants and young children. About 1.3% of children in the U.S. have an egg allergy.
Children with an egg allergy must avoid egg in all forms. Egg white is the part of the egg responsible for allergic reactions. But, it is impossible to separate the white from the yolk without traces of egg white protein getting on the yolk. Children with an egg allergy also must avoid anything containing traces of egg ingredients in it.
Always read the entire ingredient label to look for the names of egg. Egg ingredients may be within the list of the ingredients. Or egg could be listed in a “contains: egg” statement beneath the list of ingredients. This is required by the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). Learn more about the U.S. food allergen labeling law.
FALCPA requires that all packaged foods regulated by the FDA must list "egg" clearly on the ingredient label if it contains egg. Advisory statements such as “may contain egg” or “made in a facility with egg” are voluntary. Advisory statements are not required by any federal labeling law. Discuss with your doctor if you may eat products with these labels or if you should avoid them.
Did you know that surimi, lysozyme, and globulin all contain egg? The FDA food allergen label law requires foods to state if they contain a major allergen such as egg. But, there are many foods and products that are not covered by the law, so it is still important to know how to read a label for egg ingredients. Products exempt from plain English labeling rules: (1) Foods that are not regulated by the FDA. (2) Cosmetics and personal care items. (3) Prescription and over-the-counter medications. (4) Toys, crafts, and pet food. Download and print our Egg Allergy Avoidance List and Travel Cards to carry with you and share.
Usually, the portion of the chicken egg that people are allergic to is in the egg white. However, there is no safe way to separate the egg white from the egg yolk. Small traces of egg white on the yolk can trigger an allergic reaction.
Cross-reactivity occurs when the proteins in one food are similar to the proteins in another. When that happens, the body's immune system sees them as the same. Most people with an allergy to egg can eat chicken meat without any symptoms. Experts believe that cross reactivity between hen (chicken) egg white and turkey, duck, goose, and seagull egg white is rare.¹
Eggs provide a source of quality protein as well as iron, biotin, folacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, selenium, and vitamins A, D, E and B12. Your child will still easily get an adequate amount of protein when egg must be eliminated if he is not allergic to other protein sources, such as: milk, meat, poultry, fish, nuts and legumes. Selenium and vitamin B12 can also be obtained from meat. Folacin can be found in legumes, fruits, and leafy greens. If your child consumes a variety of other foods, an egg-free diet should not place your child at nutritional risk.
When your child avoids foods containing egg, essential nutrients may be lost from their diet. For example, most baked goods are made with enriched and fortified flour, which contains B vitamins and iron. Did your child normally eat a variety of baked goods prior to developing an egg allergy? If so, you will need to provide calories, B vitamins, iron, and additional nutrients from other egg-free sources.
WHEN AVOIDING EGG
|SUGGESTED ALTERNATE SOURCES
(if not allergic)
|Protein, iron, biotin, folacin, riboflavin, vitamins A, D, E, B12||Increase other protein foods such as meat, fish, poultry, legumes,
dairy (if safe for your child);
fruit, vegetables, leafy greens; and enriched grains
It is usually possible to replace eggs in a recipe. Egg replacement products have come a long way, but some are more costly than others.
Low cholesterol egg substitutes such as EggBeaters® should not be used by those with an egg allergy. These types of substitutes are made from egg ingredients. Always read labels to confirm that you are using a safe product.
Depending on the type of recipe, some egg replacements work better than others. In baked goods, eggs provide structure (binding), texture, taste, leavening (to help the food rise), and color. Each of these functions may require a different type of substitute. For example, it is common to use egg wash on baked bread or dessert products to give them a shiny brown crust. In this case, acceptable substitutions are cow's milk, soy milk, watered down agave nectar or corn syrup, among others.
Learn more about using EGG SUBSTITUTES.
Over 1,000 egg-free recipes are available in KFA's Safe Eats™ Recipes. Search for egg-free recipes.
¹American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: Ask the Allergist. (April 1, 2013) Allergenic cross-reactivity between hen and duck egg. Retrieved from http://www.aaaai.org/ask-the-expert/cross-reactivity-hen-duck-egg.aspx.
Medical review February 2015.