egg allergy

Egg Allergy | One of the 14 Major Food Allergens

The 14 Food Allergens - Eggs

Eggs are a versatile ingredient that can be found in many different foods, such as cakes, mousses, pasta dishes, and many more. 

There are many different food allergens, but those categorised as the ‘14 major food allergens’ are the most common. Food Businesses are legally required to inform customers if these allergens are present in their food. Eggs are classed as one of the 14 major food allergens. 

The 14 allergens are celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs, and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if the sulphur dioxide and sulphites are more present than 10 parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts).

Eggs are one of the most prevalent allergens among babies and young children; however, while most young children or babies with an allergy to eggs will outgrow it as they develop and get older. However, in rare circumstances the allergy might persist until adulthood. 

Allergic Reactions to Eggs

The severity of the reaction can vary based on the amount of egg consumed and how it is cooked. Allergic reactions are most commonly triggered by the protein section of the egg, which is the egg white. 

Eggs do not need to be consumed to cause an allergic reaction, and it can be caused by touching a raw egg or the eggshell in some individuals with high sensitivity to eggs.

 

Egg Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of an egg allergy can occur within a few minutes or a few hours. Symptoms may include

  • Itchy rashes, or hives
  • Dizziness, which may resulting in fainting
  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, or other region
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain  

Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening, can occur in extreme cases. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include: 

  • A swelling of the throat, making it especially difficult to breath or talk
  • Shock, following a severe drop in blood pressure
  • A rapid pulse
  • Severe breakouts of rashes, hives, or swelling 
  • Severe diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Dizziness, possibly resulting in loss of consciousness

Food Labelling for an Egg Allergy

Eggs are one of the main 14 food allergens. Therefore, food businesses must display the ingredient in bold, highlighted, or in a contrasting colour if present in the food product

Many of those with an egg allergy can consume cakes if the egg is thoroughly cooked due to the structure of the egg protein being changed by heat which makes it less prone to induce allergic reactions. However, it is best to consult with an immunologist before trying them.

egg allergy in cakes

Egg Allergy Foods to Avoid:

Again, this is not an exhaustive list but these are some of the most commonly listed egg proteins listed in ingredient labels.

  • Lysozyme 
  • Albumin
  • Avidin Globulin 
  • Apovitellin
  • Ovovitellin
  • Ovomucoid
  • Ovalbumin

Food manufacturers or businesses must include egg as an allergen if it is included in a food product. If not, they can face many consequences including, risking customers’ health and safety, possible recalls of food products (costing businesses) damage to their business’s public reputation, potential litigation, and possible closure of business. Find out more about the consequences that face food businesses if they do not adhere to the law here.

Ingredients to Avoid with an egg allergy:

This list is not exhaustive:

  • Lysozyme – found in egg whites
  • Albumin
  • Avidin Globulin 
  • Apovitellin
  • Egg (dried, yolk, white, powdered, solids)
  • Eggnog
  • Mayonnaise

Food manufacturers or businesses must include egg as an ingredient if it is included in a food product. If not, they can face many consequences including, risking customers’ health and safety, possible withdrawal or recalls of food products (costing businesses dearly) damage to their business’s public reputation and possible closure of business.

Find out more about the consequences that face food businesses if they do not adhere to the law here.

Egg Substitutes

Eggs in recipes for baked goods generally play one of two roles: binder (to hold the ingredients together) or leavening agent (to help it rise). Depending on the function of the egg, it can often be substituted with other ingredients such as oil, mashed banana, fruit puree, or baking powder. 

Commercial egg substitutes can be bought in health food shops and can sometimes be useful. There are egg free recipe books available and a wide range of recipes can be found on the web.

14 Food Allergen List

Find out more about the allergens businesses must declare under UK Food Law here. The 14 major allergens are:

LiberEat Allergen Detection Technology

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