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Facts on Food Hypersensitivity to Corn

This handout was published by the now defunct Allergy Asthma Association of Alberta in 1987. Some of the information is probably outdated by now but at least it will give you some ideas of where to look for corn sources.

A person who is hypersensitive to corn must avoid corn and all corn derivatives in food and non-food items.  Simple avoidance of corn as a vegetable is not difficult, it is the avoidance of corn derivatives that is a challenge to the person hypersensitive to corn.  Some individuals may be able to tolerate corn in its vegetable form but not corn derivatives.

Corn sensitivity can result from contact inhalation or ingestion:  the smell of corn popping or fresh corn on the cob cooking, body/bath powders, starch on clothing when ironing or contact on the skin to clothes that have been starched, glue in shoes or gloves which may contain corn, can all produce various symptoms of different degrees.

Corn is used to "dust" many containers of cardboard and plastic surfaces.  Try frozen cans of juice instead of "drinking boxes" or use fresh meat and vegetables wrapped and frozen and home canned fruit.  Corn may also line the milk "cartons" so bottled milk may be wise.  Many medications are also not corn free so check with the manufacturer before using them.

All corn and corn derivatives must be avoided.  Look for these terms in ingredient listings:

  • corn
  • maize
  • corn starch
  • hominy
  • grits
  • glucose
  • starch
  • succotash
  • fritters
  • corn oil
  • dextrose
  • corn syrup and corn syrup solids
  • corn sugar

Foods containing unspecified vegetable oil or shortening should not be used, as the source of the oil may be corn.

Baking powder usually contains "starch".  To make a corn-free baking powder, use one of the substitutions below:

  • Combine equal parts (by volume) of baking soda, cream of tartar and potato flour or starch.
  • Arrowroot may be substituted equally.
  • Combine 4 oz of cream of tartar, 2 oz baking soda, and 4 oz ground rice - sift together
Products which may contain corn
Adhesives:  Envelopes, stamps, stickers, tapes, Gummed Papers: Envelopes, labels, stamps, stickers, tapes
Paper Containers: boxes, cups, plates.  These three only when foods have a moist phase in contact with these cartons.
Hair Spray
Cups, paper Starch, while ironing starched clothes
Holiday type stickers Talcums
Bath powders Toothpaste
Body powders Zest

Breath spray and candies

Aspirin and other tablets
Cough syrups
Dentifrices (Toothpaste)
Expectorants or dilutents in capsules, lozenges, ointments, suppositories, tablets, vitamins
Gelatin capsules

Foods which may contain refined corn and other corn products:

Ale Bacon Baking mixes
Baking powders Batters for frying Beers
Bleached/unbleached wheat flours Bourbon and other whiskies Breads/other pastries
Cakes Candy Carbonated beverages
Catsups Cereals, many processed Cheeses
Coffee, instant Colas Cookies
Confectioner's sugar (icing sugar) Corn Flakes Chinese Dishes
Cream Pies Cream Puffs Dates, Confection
Deep fat frying mixtures Dextrose Fish, prepared and processed
French dressings Frostings Fruits - canned, frozen
Fruit juices Frying fats Gelatin dessert
Glucose Graham crackers Grape juice
Gravies Grits Chewing gums
Gin Ginger Ale Hams
Ices Ice cream Cooking fumes of popping corn
Popcorn Starch Jams/Jellies
Ketchup Leavening agents, baking powders, yeasts Lemonade
Life Savers Liqueurs Margarines/shortenings
Meats, processed and cold cuts Milk, in paper cartons Monosodium glutamate
Pastries / Cakes/ Cup cakes Peanut Butter Peas, canned
Pickles Pies, creamed Powdered sugar
Preserves Puddings Ravioli
Rice, coated Root Beer Salt
Salad Dressing Sandwich spreads Sausages
Sherbets String beans - canned/frozen Soups
Soy Bean milks Syrups, commercially prepared "Cartose", glucose, "Karo", "Puretose", "Sweetose" Tablets/Medications
Teas, instant Tortillas Vegetables
Vinegar, distilled Waffles Wines

Allergy Information Association, Corn Information Sheet
Sask. Public Health Dept., "One Man's Meat is Anothers Poison".
Red Deer Health Unit - Nutrition Information.

Written in 1987 but still pretty relevant!

Terms of Use: The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is for your general information only. We cannot be held responsible for anything you could possibly do or say because of information on this site.   Consult your family physician or allergist for specific questions or concerns. 


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