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Egg Allergies - What You Need to Know

Having an egg allergy is one of the most common allergies to have, especially for infants and young children. With symptoms ranging from mild to severe, the only way to manage an egg allergy is to avoid eggs completely. This means whole eggs, raw eggs and food containing egg. This can be difficult for families and childcare centres as eggs are a staple in so many dishes including baked goods and manufactured food products. If you are not sure how to manage an egg allergy, fear not, our Dietitians are here to help.

Let’s discuss everything you need to know about egg allergy including common foods, nutrition deficiency, alternatives, food safety and more.

What You Need to Know about egg allergies

What is an allergy to eggs?

An allergic reaction happens when exposed to the proteins in eggs and the body causes inflammatory reactions as response. It usually begins within minutes or up to a few hours after eating eggs or products containing eggs. Both egg whites and yolk can cause an allergic reaction, whereas an allergy to egg whites is more common.

For people with egg allergies, it is recommended to avoid eggs and food products containing eggs. Although some people may only be allergic to either egg white or yolk, they should avoid the whole eggs as it is hard to separate egg white and yolk. Apart from hen’s eggs, other types of bird eggs should be avoided too, such as ducks, geese, quail because they have similar proteins to hen’s eggs.

Symptoms of egg allergies

Everyone’s immune response is different. Therefore, the symptoms and severity of egg allergies can vary from person to person. Egg allergy symptoms can range from mild - Itchy mouth or throat or hives to severe – anaphylaxis, difficult of breathing or swelling of the tongue. Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction and can be life threatening. An injection of adrenaline is required for anyone with anaphylaxis. Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Foods containing eggs

People with egg allergies are required to remove eggs from the diet to avoid adverse food reactions. It doesn’t matter if the egg is poached, boiled, fried, scrambled or within a delicious omelette – avoid eggs completely if you have an allergy. Here’s a list of common and surprising foods that contain eggs.

Common foods containing eggs:

  • Egg noodles

  • Pastry

  • French toast

  • Frittatas and Quiche

  • Meringue

  • Frittata

  • Pavlova

  • Cake, cupcakes and muffins

Surprising foods containing eggs for people with a egg allergy

9 Surprising foods containing eggs

  1. Marshmallows, marzipan and icing. It is common for marshmallows to contain eggs. Some marzipan and icing use raw egg whites as an ingredient.

  2. Breaded and batter-fried foods. Eggs serve as a binder that help batter stick to the food that make it suitable for frying.

  3. Meatloaf and meatballs. Eggs are used as to bind all the ingredients and retain the shape.

  4. Custards, pudding, ice-creams and sorbet. Custard and pudding are commonly made with eggs. Most dairy ice creams contain eggs. Some sorbet may contain egg whites.

  5. Pasta. Most commercially made pasta contains egg.

  6. Crepes, waffles and pretzels. They can be covered with egg wash.

  7. Nougat. It is usually made with whipped egg whites.

  8. Asian dishes such as Pad Thai, fried rice, and fried noodles. Eggs are commonly used in Asian dishes.

  9. Some salad or dressings. Some dressings, especially creamy dressing such as coleslaw, Caesar, mayonnaise, hollandaise, bearnaise, tartare that contains eggs as an ingredient.

Can someone grow out of an egg allergy?

Egg allergies are more common in infants and young children.  However, when their digestive systems become mature, most children can eventually grow out of an egg allergy as they grow older, before adolescence, while some may remain allergic to eggs through adulthood.

For most children, they may grow out of their egg allergy by the age of ten and for some children, it might be as early as three years old. A combination of allergy testing and egg food challenges are usually used by the doctor to determine whether someone has grown out of an egg allergy.

Are People who have an egg allergy at risk of nutrition deficiency?

Egg is a good source of protein and it also contains many nutrients that are essential for the growth and development of children. Removing eggs from a daily diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies and affecting children’s development. Key nutrients found in eggs are protein, iron, vitamin B2, B7, B9, B12, A, D and E.

Hen’s eggs are widely used in many cultures and cuisines. It is also a common ingredient used in manufactured food. Therefore, eliminating eggs can be challenging and may lead nutritional deficiencies, particularly for those who have other dietary limitations such as vegetarian diet.

Vitamin D

People who have egg allergies are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for bone development in children and bone strength in adults, muscles, teeth health and maintaining a healthy immune system. Eggs contain high quantities of vitamin D. Eating two eggs a day can provide more than 80% of daily recommended vitamin D intake. When eliminating eggs in the diet, there is an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.

B vitamins

In addition to vitamin D, eggs are also rich in B vitamins. When avoiding eggs in the diet, there is a risk of deficiency in vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), Biotin (vitamin B7) and folate (vitamin B9). Those are important for cell growths, energy production, immune and nervous system.

Other vitamins and nutrients found in eggs

Eggs are also rich in protein, iron, vitamin A and E, selenium that are essential to maintain healthy body.

Alternative foods to replace eggs to ensure adequate nutrition

For those who have egg allergies, a well-balanced diet is important to ensure adequate nutrition intake from other food groups when removing eggs from the daily diet.

  • There are many other foods rich in vitamin D such as sardines, tuna, salmon and mushrooms.

  • In Australia, margarines are mandated to be fortified with vitamin D.

  • Some foods may also be fortified with vitamin D such as milk, soy milk, cheese, yoghurt and breakfast cereals.

  • Legumes, dairy products, meat, poultry and seafood are good sources of protein and iron.

  • Fruit, vegetables, leafy greens and grains are rich sources of B vitamins.

Aim to include the above in your daily diet if you have egg allergies.

Aquafaba as a Egg substitute for people with a egg allergy

Need an Egg substitute – Try Aquafaba

Aquafaba is the liquid strained from a can of cooked chickpeas. This is a great vegan substitute for eggs and also for people with an egg allergy.  Aquafaba has characteristics of both an egg’s yolk and the white, meaning you can use Aquafaba to replace the eggs in homemade macarons, mousses, pancakes, mayonnaise, pavlova, cakes and muffins.

Just note, Aquafaba is not a nutritional substitute for eggs. Eggs are a good source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals while aquafaba does not and is extremely low in protein. However, using Aquafaba for special occasions to include people with an egg allergy is brilliant idea. Aquafaba means everyone can safely enjoy important dishes and traditions such as the Christmas Pav, birthday cakes and more.  

What to do when buying foods or eating out?

Read food labels

Always, always, always read the food label when buying food. Plain English Allergen Labelling has been introduced in Australia and is slowing being rolled out over the next few years. With Plain English Allergen Labelling or PEAL in place, it will be simple to identify egg within products. Read more about PEAL here.

In the meantime and for international foods, be aware of these words on the food label: Egg white, Egg yolk, Dried egg, Egg lecithin, Powdered egg, Mayonnaise, Albumin, Ovalbumin, Ovomucoid or Globulin.

Avoid cross contamination

When preparing food at home, cross contamination can occur during storage, preparing cooking and serving. Using the same utensils that may be contaminated with eggs can also cause allergic reactions. Therefore, separate utensils should be used when preparing foods or washing utensils that contacting with eggs thoroughly in between use. Read more about Egg Safety here.

Ask questions when eating out

If you are not sure whether the food contains eggs when eating out, always ask the question to the chef or staff and check that there’s no cross-contamination risk too.

How can a Dietitian help when managing egg allergies

Avoiding eggs in the diet can be difficult. In addition, since eggs are rich in many essential nutrients, eliminating eggs from the diet without a health professional’s guidance can increases the risk of nutrition deficiency and causing stunted growth in some children. Accredited Practising Dietitians have expert knowledge and skills that can provide education to help you and your children manage egg allergies. 

Need a Dietitian?

At OSCAR Care Group, our experienced Accredited Practising Dietitians can support you and your family to manage you or your children’s allergies. We use evidence-based practice to help you optimise your nutritional status and prevent nutrition deficiencies.

Through Aged Care Homes, Childcare Centres or via our Clinic, OSCAR Care Group Dietitians can:

  • Assess and diagnose of nutrition related issues.

  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of adverse food reactions.

  • Identify any food-related issues that caused by egg allergies.

  • Interpret growth changes in children and weight changes in adults.

  • Conduct nutrition assessments and develop tailored plans.

  • Provide education to ensure adequate nutrition intake while managing allergies.

  • Provide education on food label reading.

  • Provide education on cooking skills and appropriate food substitutions to prepare meals without using eggs.

  • Provide professional advice to parents and families to help children manage their allergies that are appropriate for their age and stage of growth.

  • Provide professional advice to help manage multiple food allergies.

If you have any nutritional questions, please feel free to contact our friendly dietetic team.


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