Food Allergy to Egg or Milk? Baking Milk & Egg Can Make Them Allergy-Safe
Some kids with a food allergy to egg or milk are able to tolerate the foods if they are baked. The reason for this is that heating the food (to at least 350°F for at least 30 minutes) changes the structure of some of the allergenic proteins found in milk and egg. In children who are only allergic to heat sensitive milk and egg proteins, changes in protein structure with baking can make the food tolerable.
Additional good news: recent research shows that kids who are tolerant to baked forms of egg and milk are more likely to outgrow that allergy as they get older.
Determining whether baked forms of milk or egg are safe for your child requires evaluation by a board certified allergist who has experience with food allergy testing. This evaluation begins with a thorough history of the problem followed by allergy testing for the foods in question. In the case of milk and egg, measuring serum IgE antibodies for heat stable proteins (casein and ovomucoid, respectively) helps guide decisions regarding the introduction of baked goods.
If the results of these tests indicate a low risk of an allergic reaction, a graded challenge to a baked product containing a specified amount of milk or egg is performed under close observation in the allergist’s clinic. Children who pass baked milk or baked egg challenges are encouraged to eat these foods on a daily basis.
To determine if your child can tolerate baked milk or egg, make an appointment for a food challenge with your allergist/immunologist.
How an Oral Food Challenge Works
When the patient’s allergy testing results do not appear to support a diagnosis of food allergy or if there is a question as to whether or not a food allergy has resolved, a graded oral food challenge (OFC) can definitively settle the question.
Oral food challenges should only be performed under the supervision of board certified allergists who are experienced in conducting these tests and treating anaphylactic reactions. During the OFC, the patient is given small but increasing amounts of the suspect food followed by one to two hours of observation in the office. If the patient does not experience an allergic reaction, the food may be included in the patient’s diet again.
Food allergy testing is an important step if you or someone you know suspect food allergies. Rely on the experts who specialize in food and other allergies to recommend your best course of treatment.