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Facts on Food Hypersensitivity to Egg

This article was a publication of the now defunct Allergy Asthma Association of Alberta. It was published in the late 1980s so some of the information may be outdated.  However it can still be of some use because egg is widely used in foods today. Always check the label and call the manufacturer if unsure. 

The most likely part of the egg to cause hypersensitivity is the egg white or albumin.  Infants who are hypersensitive to eggs, may tolerate them as they grow older.

Nutritional Implications

Egg in any form should be removed from the diet.  This includes eggs from any type of fowl. 

The following terms indicate the presence of egg in a product and such products must be omitted from the diet:

  • albumin
  • powdered egg
  • ovalbumin
  • silici albuminate
  • globulin
  • vitellin
  • livetin
  • ovovitellin
  • ovomucin
  • yolk
  • ovomucoid
  • dried egg

Egg protein shampoos may also cause egg allergics to suffer an allergic reaction.  These and other egg containing non-food products should be avoided. 

Persons who develop anaphylactic symptoms such as hypotension, urticaria (hives), shock , wheezing, laryngospasm or swelling of the mouth or throat "should not receive egg derived vaccines" until they have been skin tested.  Please consult your doctor before immunization, for a test dose of the MMR (Measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, if your child has not been exposed to eggs. 

Persons with milder forms of sensitivity to chicken eggs, and feathers, including positive allergy skin tests, do not indicate a sensitivity to vaccines grown on avian tissue.  Persons "without anaphylactic symptoms may be given the vaccines for measles, mumps, influenza and yellow fever".


The Function of the Egg in Cooking

Cream Puffs
The egg serves to emulsify the water and melted fat.  (An emulsion is formed when small drops of one liquid are finely distributed in another liquid.  The drops are held in suspension by an emulsifying agent - in this case, egg - which surrounds each drop and acts as a coating). 

Egg serves as a thickener:  the protein forms a network which entraps the liquid, making it immobile. 

Frozen Desserts
Egg is used to ensure that there is adequate incorporation of small air bubbles and greater dispersion of fat globules; these processes make products smooth and fluffy. 

Mayonnaise and Salad Dressings
Egg is used to emulsify:  egg surrounds the oil droplets, preventing them from merging and forming larger droplets.  Without the egg, the oil separates from other ingredients. 

Quick Breads
The beaten egg in this products serve to incorporate air into batters and doughs.  Egg adds structure to baked items like muffins and popovers.  Products without egg tend to crumble easily and fail to rise to normal levels (this compactness changes the texture of a product). 

Shortened Cakes, Sponge and Angel Cakes
Egg is used to provide structure, to incorporate air, and to emulsify.  Products without egg will be compact, crumbly, and batters are likely to separate, making products gummy. 

Yeast Breads
Many yeast breads are made without eggs.  When eggs are included, products look and taste richer.

Substitutes in Baking and Cooking

1 cup = 250 ml, 1 tsp = 5 ml, 1 tablespoon = 15 ml

Type of Substitute Type of Product Comments
Apricots and water.  Soak 227 g apricots in 500 ml (2 C) water overnight.  Beat in blender.  Store in refrigerator. 
15 ml = 1 egg)
Sweet Breads
Adds flavor to product.
Baking powder and sour cream.  2 ml baking powder and 125 ml sour cream = 1 egg Cookies, spice cakes and chocolate cakes Not acceptable in other products.
Baking powder 5 ml = 1 egg Cakes, cookies, quick breads Products crumble easily, lack body.  They may be gummy.
Baking soda and vinegar.  5 ml baking soda + 5 ml vinegar = 1 egg Cookies, white cakes, loaves Limit use to recipes calling for one egg.
Cornstarch  15 ml = 1 egg Custard Acts as a thickener.
Flaxseed and water.  Boil gently 15 ml flaxseed and 250 ml cold water.   Strain through course strainer. White cakes (where milk is the liquid used).  Pancakes, muffins, cookies. Is clear and tasteless.  Products are moist and have good texture.  If recipe calls for 2-3 eggs, this replacement will make product too moist.  Cannot be used to make angel food cakes.
Flour, baking powder and shortening.  50 ml flour + 5 ml baking powder + 15 ml shortening = 1 egg Baked goods Unacceptable in short cakes.
Mashed banana. On average size = one egg Cakes, muffins, quick breads Adds flavor to product. Product may be gummy.
Vinegar.  15 ml = 1 egg Baked Goods. Products will stale quickly, use within four days.  Freeze until used.
Jolly Joan Egg Replaces, Kingsmill, Ener-G Foods Mayonnaise, Custard fillings, baked goods. Not for angel food or chiffon cakes.  May give unacceptable flavour.

Egg Free Food Sources

Remember -- ingredients change.  Always check the label!  If in doubt, avoid it!

Type of Foods Foods Allowed Foods to Avoid
BEVERAGES All plain drinks, cocoa, tea and coffee (unless clarified with egg); fresh, frozen and canned fruit juices Wine and coffee clarified with egg white or egg shell; root beer that has egg added to produce foam; Ovaltine and Ovomalt; prepared mixes or drinks that contain egg or are make from powders that contain egg, egg powder, dried egg or albumin.
BREADS Ry-Krisp, plain crackers; corn pone; beaten biscuits; watch for products brushed with egg white. Muffins, griddle cakes, waffles, gingerbreads, doughnuts, and fancy breads; commercial breads and rolls that contain egg or are brushed with egg white; prepared mixes for the above mentioned items + breads and rolls - unless labelled egg-free.
BREADED FOODS Those which use egg-free breading mixtures; those which use the crumbs of egg-free breads. Foods that have been dipped in egg; any breading mixture that contains egg.
CEREALS Barley, cornmeal, hominy, rice and tapioca prepared without egg; any breakfast cereal.
DESSERTS Plan and fruit flavoured gelatins; blancmange without egg; ices, mousse; plain rennet. Bavarian creams, blancmange, puddings, stirred and baked custards, fritters, cakes, cookies, macaroons and pastries; meringues and whips; pie fillings such as lemon, coconut cream, and pumpkin; frostings, icings, ice cream, and sherbets; pretzels and marshmallows; unless prepared at home or from an egg-free mix
EGG AND EGG DISHES None Not in any form
FATS AND SALAD DRESSINGS Butters and margarines; oils and fats from meats, poultry, and vegetables; French Dressing  without egg, oil and vinegar dressing Avoid all except true French Dressing.
MEATS, POULTRY, GAME, FISH, SEAFOOD All except those listed under foods to avoid. Sausages, coquettes and by-product loaves, any meant in which egg is used as a binder; meat casings may contain egg.
MEAT ALTERNATIVES Dried peans, beans, lentils, cheese, nuts and peanut butter
SAUCES AND GRAVIES Cream, white tomato, vegetable soups prepared without egg or ingredients that contain egg such as egg noodles. Mock turtle, alphabet, and egg noodle; brutish and bouillon's; consommés clarified with egg; canned and dehydrated soups containing egg.
SWEETS Brown, granulated, powdered and icing sugars; honey, molasses, sorghum, and syrups; jellies, jams, marmalades, preserves; some hard candy and clear candy Divinities and soft candy; commercial candy brushed with egg white to give lustre.
MISCELLANEOUS Popcorn, sesame and sunflower seeds; olives; chili powder, condiments, flavourings(?), extracts, herbs, spices, and salt; brewer's yeast; pastas made without egg.  Magic Baking Powder. French toast, timbales; batters for "french frying"; glazes, dumplings; some medications, pitted dates may be coated with egg yolk.  Baking powders containing egg.

Reference;  Red Deer Health Unit, "Egg Information Sheet".  Allergy Foundation of Canada, A Guide to Living with Egg Allergy.
Revised October 1987.

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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