Chapter Egg Allergens
Hen’s eggs of the species Gallus domesticus are known for their potential to induce allergic reactions in humans. Egg allergies represent one of the most frequent allergies in the population. Sensitization to egg with subsequent allergic symptoms in childhood often occurs without known oral exposure (NDA Opinions 2004). The frequency of hen’s egg allergy is about three times higher in children than in adults (Besler and Mine 1999). While egg white is considered the major source of allergens, IgE-binding allergens have also been reported in the yolk. The amount of protein levels reported to induce adverse reactions in egg allergic individuals (threshold dose) ranges from 0.2 to 200 mg of protein (equivalent to 2-400 mg of food) (NDA Opinions 2004). The occurring allergic symptoms show great diversity and vary strongly between each individual.