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- Food Safety
Egg allergies occur most commonly in children. Like other allergies, avoiding contact with the food is the treatment of choice. However, as egg can be present in such a wide variety of foods, it is important to also be prepared for allergic reactions. Teaching children and their possible caretakers both how to avoid the allergen but also how to respond to an allergic reaction can be life saving.
An egg free diet eliminates all foods and food ingredients that contain any form of egg protein. This includes any type of fowl, not just chicken eggs. Eggs are usually found in baked goods, baking mixes, batters, candies, custards, desserts, frozen breakfast entrees, gourmet ice cream, mayonnaise, noodles, pudding, salad dressings, and sauces. Egg whites may be used to coat breads, pastries, and pretzels to enhance browning. Learn to read labels and cook with egg substitutes to avoid foods with egg protein.
A word of caution: if a food does not contain a label, it may be best to avoid it. Moreover, many people use egg to coat the outside of foods, such as baked products and deli meats, to make these foods look more shiny or browned. This may not appear on the label, it is best to ask.
Egg protein can also hide in unusual places such as hair products. Protecting yourself from an allergic reaction means checking all labels of items that you ingest or use externally.
Egg proteins, like many food allergens, can be disguised in the foods you eat. In addition to avoiding obvious egg sources, you can also avoid egg exposure by learning the egg aliases. Careful reading of labels and ingredient lists on food packages is important to blowing the cover on these potential allergens.
It is important to remember that manufacturers are not required to list a food or additive on a food label should it constitute a very small percentage of the product. Highly allergic people need to be weary, therefore, of any foods that may contain egg protein.
Reading food labels cannot be under estimated, however. Even with familiar brands, it is very important to read all labels carefully prior to buying or eating a food. Food manufacturers frequently change suppliers and ingredients. It is equally important to read labels when changing brands. Different brands of the same type of food may contain different ingredients.
Common Foods and Ingredients Containing Egg Protein
Foods or ingredients that may contain egg
egg yolk or yellow
dried egg solids
cholesterol free egg substitute
creamy salad dressing
malted cocoa drinks
processed meat products
Eliminating egg in your recipes can be made simple by using some of these substitutions. It can become a challenge, however, when elimiting other high protein foods, such as gluten, from recipes if multiple food allergies are present. Eggs normally help bind and keep baked foods moist.
Sometimes, it is helpful to alter the presentaion of the dish, rather than compromise the taste or texture with too many substitute ingredients. For example, have custard in a ramekin instead of a freestanding quiche that may taste overly starchy. Cookbooks and recipe resources provide a wealth of information about ingredients and their function in foods. Ethnic cookbooks commonly offer tasty recipes where the product is not compromised by a food allergy, as traditional ethnic foods are often low in allergenic foods.
- EnerG egg replacement powder
- Dairy or non dairy liquid with additional leavening*
- *Each egg represents 2-3 Tbl of liquid but in many cake recipes it is also the only source of leavening. Depending on the recipe baking soda or baking powder, approximately 1/2 tsp per cup of flour, needs to be added. However, the quantity depends on the amount of acid, fat and other liquids in the recipe.
Be aware that egg substitutes commonly found on the market that are low in cholesterol are not usually egg free, they are only egg yolk free. They normally still contain the egg protein and will cause an allergic reaction in someone who is sensitive. Read the ingredient list of all foods to avoid your allergen, especially your condiment and spice mixtures.
Identify the foods that will be the most difficult for you to give up, the ones that makeup the bulk of your daily diet, and focus on replacing these first with yummy new alternatives.