In Food allergens, Prepared foods

Egg allergy particularly affects children. Allergy sufferers must not only avoid fried or scrambled eggs, but also many other foods. Here’s where allergic people must be careful.

People suffering from egg allergy usually must avoid eggs in any form. This often is a challenge as eggs can be used in a variety of dishes. They are not only an ingredient of pancakes, tiramisu or eggnog, but are also contained in many foods where one would not necessarily expect to find them. Because of their technological characteristics, eggs are a popular additive in the food industry and are used in a variety of processed foods. For example, they serve as a binding agent in noodles and as an emulsifier in sauces and dressings. They add fluffiness to biscuits and meringues, and the carotenoids provide a delicate yellow color. The egg white can be used for the fining of wine, and the lysozyme (E 1105) from the hen’s egg serves as a preservative due to its antimicrobial effect.

The following table gives an overview of foods that may contain egg as a hidden allergen:

Emulsifier, stabilizerMayonnaise, remoulade, spreads, spice pastes, dressings, sauces, soups, mousses, puddings, chocolates, nougat, cookies, pastries, ready meals, specialty salads, baking mixtures, instant drinks, beverage powder, baby food
Binding agentPasta, bakery products, cookies, dumplings, potato products, breadcrumb coatings, sauces, pastries, meat products, sausages, ice cream
Fluffing agent, foam formationSoufflés, meringues, biscuits, cotton candy, marshmallows, cocktails
PreservativeCheese, beer
Taste, colorCake, pastries, bread, rolls, desserts, soups, sauces
Fining agent, clarificationWine, liqueur, fruit juice, broth, aspic

Not only foods are a potential risk for allergy sufferers: Some vaccines, e.g. against influenza, yellow fever and TBE, are produced from chicken embryos and may contain egg components. In addition, eggs are used in some drugs (e.g. lozenges) and cosmetics (e.g. shampoos).

Allergen labelling

Being one of the most common allergenic substances worldwide, eggs must be labelled in the list of ingredients. Allergic persons should pay attention to the following terms: yolk, whole egg, dried egg, liquid egg, egg powder, frozen eggs, egg protein, egg oil, E 322 lecithin, E 1105 lysozyme.

To ensure correct labelling of contained allergens, a reliable analysis is essential for the food industry. Given the varied use of eggs, it is particularly important that test systems are able to reliably detect native as well as processed egg.

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