Egg allergy tends to be more common in children under the age of 5, and the good news is that the majority of kids will outgrow their allergy by age 7. Reactions to an egg allergy can be severe, so working out exactly what causes a reaction can help parents to manage the condition.
What’s different about egg allergy?
Egg allergy is slightly different to many other food allergies, because the severity of the reaction (or whether the person has a reaction at all) can depend on the form that the egg is in. For example, some people might be able to tolerate well-cooked eggs (e.g. in cakes and biscuits), but have to avoid them when loosely cooked (e.g. in meringue, scrambled egg, omelette, etc.) or raw (in fresh mayonnaise, some ice creams, royal icing, etc.). Other people with a more severe allergy might need to avoid egg in all its forms and guises.
Studies have shown that over half of children with egg allergy can actually eat cakes and biscuits that contain egg, but will experience a reaction to raw or loosely cooked eggs. Some children with a milder allergy may have chronic eczema without their parents realising egg is the cause; others may have more immediate and severe reactions, with anaphylactic shock a rare but not unheard-of occurrence.
Kids who have allergic reactions to even well-cooked egg tend to be the ones where the egg allergy is likely to be more severe and may be lifelong.
Egg allergy can go hand in hand with other food allergies, so it’s important to be referred to an NHS allergy clinic to make sure that any dietary changes are based on medical advice.
How can you spot egg?
Loosely cooked and raw eggs tend to be more easy to spot in foods – egg has a distinctive smell and flavour, so it’s not so tricky to avoid foods that are largely egg-based. It’s much more challenging for people who are severely allergic to egg and have to avoid eating even a trace of it.
Egg in recipes must be labelled in pre-packaged food, and this has been the case since 2005. New legislation currently being rolled out in the EU means that labelling will become even clearer, and where egg is an ingredient, this will be clearly shown in the ingredients list in bold. Egg-containing ingredients might include:
– Egg powder, dried egg, frozen egg, pasteurised egg
– Egg proteins (albumin, ovalbumin, globulin, ovoglobulin, livetin, ovomucin, vitellin, ovovitellin)
– Egg white, egg yolk
– Egg lecithin (E322)
There are a few foods which you might not expect to contain egg, so if you or your child are severely allergic, it’s really important to check labels and manufacturer’s websites to ensure your safety. Some sources even surprised us: some brands of marshmallows, marzipan, some chocolate bars, pastry (especially where an egg glaze is used) and Quorn products may all contain egg or traces of egg.
Some vaccines also contain small amounts of egg; however, levels tend to be minimal. If you have any concerns over egg allergy and medication/vaccines, your GP or health visitor is the best person to ask.
**At ilumi, we clearly label all our products (both on pack and in our webshop) so you can see exactly what is (and isn’t) included. We don’t use any egg or egg-containing ingredients in any of our ilumi dishes.**