Mar. 5, 2008 People who suffer from egg allergies may soon be able to have their quiche and eat it too. Chemists in Germany and Switzerland report development of a new process that greatly reduces allergens in eggs and may lead to safer, more specialized food products for individuals with egg allergies.
Although unusual in adults, egg allergies are among the leading food allergies in infants and children. These allergies can cause severe stomach aches, and rashes. In extremely rare cases, death may occur.
As a result, physicians advise those with egg allergies to avoid eggs or egg-based products. Some researchers have tried to reduce allergens in eggs, especially the pasteurized egg product (consisting of shelled eggs) widely used in the food industry. Until now, however, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
In the new study, Angelika Paschke and colleagues describe their process, which exposes raw eggs to a combination of high heat and enzymes to break down their main allergens. The researchers then tested their reduced-allergen egg against blood serum collected from people with egg allergies. The modified egg product was 100 times less allergenic than raw egg, the scientists say. It does not significantly affect flavor and texture when used in various products, they add.
The study "In Vitro Determination of the Allergenic Potential of Technologically Altered Hen's Egg" is scheduled for the March 12 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
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