Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, second only to milk allergy. Most children eventually outgrow an allergy to egg.
Allergic Reactions to Eggs
Symptoms of an egg allergy reaction can range from mild, such as hives, to severe, such as anaphylaxis. Allergic reactions can be unpredictable, and even very small amounts of egg can cause one.
To prevent a reaction, it is very important that you avoid eggs and egg products. Always read food labels and ask questions about ingredients before eating a food that you have not prepared yourself.
The whites of an egg contain the proteins that cause allergic reactions. If you have an egg allergy, you must avoid eggs completely (both the egg white and the egg yolk). This is because it is impossible to separate the egg white completely from the yolk. Cross-contact will always be a concern.
If you are allergic to chicken eggs, your doctor may recommend you also avoid eggs from other domestic animals. Eggs from birds such as ducks, geese, turkeys and quails can cause a cross-reaction.
Egg is one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on packaged foods sold in the U.S., as required by federal law. Download this resource on how to identify eggs in food labels.
Avoid foods that contain eggs or any of these ingredients:
- Albumin (also spelled albumen)
- Egg (dried, powdered, solids, white, yolk)
- Meringue (meringue powder)
Eggs are sometimes found in the following:
- Baked goods (although some people can tolerate these foods—consult with your allergist)
- Egg substitutes
- Ice cream
- Pasta: Most commercially made cooked pastas (including those in prepared foods such as soup) contain egg. Boxed, dry pastas are usually egg-free. But these types of pasta may be processed on equipment that is also used for egg-containing products. Fresh pasta is sometimes egg-free, too. Read the label or ask about ingredients before eating any pasta.
- Pretzels are sometimes covered in egg wash before they are dipped in salt.
- Specialty coffee drinks and bar drinks (eggs can be used in the foam or topping)
Allergens are not always present in these foods and products, but egg protein can appear in surprising places. Again, read food labels and ask questions if you’re ever unsure about an item’s ingredients.
What to Read Next
Learn which vaccines may contain egg protein, and how people with egg allergy should approach getting vaccinated.
Learn how to prevent cross-contact, which happens when an allergen is accidentally transferred from one food to another.