Egg Allergies: Spot Problems on Food Labels

When you have an allergy to eggs, it can sometimes be tricky to figure out which foods you need to avoid. You may find them hiding in the ingredients in a lot of products.

Packaged foods are required to state in the ingredients list, or as a separate “contains statement” the presence of milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or soybeans. If eggs are not listed in a “contains statement,” also check the ingredient list carefully, and stay away if you see these “egg” words:

  • Albumin (or albumen)
  • Eggs (all types)
  • Eggnog
  • Fat substitutes
  • Globulin
  • Lecithin
  • Levitin
  • Lysozyme
  • Mayonnaise
  • Meringue
  • Ovalbumin
  • Surimi
  • Vitellin

Where Eggs Hide

Be cautious with these items:

  • Noodles and pasta may have egg in them.
  • Meatballs and meatloaf often have it.
  • Bagels, pretzels, and other baked goods get their shiny appearance from egg white.
  • Battered or fried foods can be an issues because batter might eggs and there's a possibility of cross-contamination to something like plain French fries fried in oil that had been used to fry an egg-battered food.
  • Watch out for egg in foods like breakfast cereals, ice cream, and even egg substitutes.

How to Choose Safe Foods

Stick with packaged and labeled foods. Items from salad bars, deli counters, and bakeries are more likely to accidentally have some of your allergy trigger in them.

Always read food labels. Don't skip this step even if it's something you buy all the time. Food makers may change the ingredients. Something that's been safe for you and your family for a while may not always be OK.

Be cautious with an ingredient you're not familiar with. Look it up first. Contact the manufacturer if you need more info.

Watch out for new versions of your favorite food. Low-fat or reduced-calorie items may have different ingredients from the original. Larger or smaller packages can also sometimes affect the ingredient list. And some products may have different ingredients in different parts of the country. Always read the labels carefully so you know what you're getting.

Check labels on medications and toiletries. Your allergy trigger can show up in drugs, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions and even the egg protein in some vaccinations.

Speak up when you eat out. At restaurants, let the servers, managers, cooks, or chef know that you're allergic to eggs. Don't be afraid to ask how they prepare a meal. Sometimes it can be hard to tell everything that's in a dish based on how it's listed on the menu.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on October 29, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network: "Egg" and "How to Read a Label for a Egg-Free Diet."

Kids with Food Allergies: "Grocery Shopping for a Child with Food Allergies" and "How to Read a Label for Egg Allergy."

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