Egg Allergies - What Foodservice Operators Need to Know
What’s the Scoop?
An egg allergy is one of the eight most common food allergies in the United States, and it is the second most common food allergy in children.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and usually occur within a few minutes to a few hours after consuming egg. The most common reaction associated with egg allergies is a rash or hives, but anaphylaxis, which is life threatening, is also a possibility.
Anaphylaxis may include symptoms that involve the skin, nose, mouth, or gastrointestinal tract, as well as difficulty breathing and reduced blood pressure. This needs to be addressed as a medical emergency and 9-1-1 should be called immediately.
How Can It Be Managed?
Strict avoidance and reading food labels is the only form of managing food allergies. Thankfully, reading labels for hidden sources of egg has become much easier since the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) went into effect in January of 2006. This act requires the top eight allergens, which includes egg, to be declared on all product labels in simple terms within the ingredient statement. Still, educating yourself on the unexpected sources where you may find these allergens is another way to prevent exposure and/or a reaction.
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
- Egg substitutes
Unexpected sources of egg:
- Breaded Items
- Cooked Pasta
- Foam (alcoholic, specialty coffee)
- Soft Pretzels
- Ice Cream
- Fried Rice
Keep in Mind
Individuals with an egg allergy should also avoid eggs from duck, turkey, goose, quail, etc., as these are known to be cross-reactive with chicken eggs.
While the whites of an egg contain the allergenic proteins, a person with an egg allergy should avoid all eggs completely.
What Are Some Egg Substitutions?
When it comes to cooking or baking with egg alternates, experiment with some of the following substitutions for a single egg. These work well when baking from scratch and when 1 to 3 eggs are needed.
- 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 banana
- ¼ cup prunes, pureed
- ¼ cup soft tofu, pureed
- ¼ cup mashed potatoes
- ¼ cup canned pumpkin or squash
- 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp potato starch
- 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again
The following resources are available to Gordon Food Service customers by logging onto Gordon Experience:
- Food Allergen Awareness Page
- Food Allergy Training Topics
- Servsafe Allergens Online Course
Additionally, allergen information can be found in the following areas:
- Gordon Food Service Family of Brands Ingredient Statements
- Food Allergy Research and Education