Corn is a cereal grain with proteins that are similar to those in other cereal grains, such as wheat. Unlike wheat, which is a common food allergen, allergic reactions to corn are much less common. Most corn allergy reactions are mild, but severe reactions have been reported. These reports include anaphylaxis after the ingestion of corn or corn-related foods, as well as severe reactions after exposure to cornstarch in surgical gloves.
Allergic reactions can occur as a result of eating both raw and cooked corn. Those with corn allergy may also react to corn pollen (typically with allergic rhinitis and/or asthma), grass pollen, and cornstarch. As with other food allergies, avoidance of corn and corn-related foods is the main way to prevent future reactions.
What foods contain corn?
Corn and corn products are commonly found in our diets, especially as sweeteners and starch.
What items on a food label contain corn?
These foods may contain trace amounts of corn protein but are less likely to cause sensitivity:
Glucose (commercially prepared)
Starch (food, vegetable, modified food starch)
What can I use instead of corn?
Beet or cane sugar
Cream of tartar
What can I use to substitute for corn-derived products?
• Baking powder: 1 tsp. baking powder can be replaced with 1¼ tsp. cream of tartar and ½ tsp. baking soda
• Corn oil: coconut, olive, sunflower, safflower, butter
• Corn syrup: molasses, sorghum, honey
• Cornstarch: potato, arrowroot, rice, all-purpose flour to thicken gravy
• Powdered sugar: substitute with white granulated sugar mixed in blender until powdery
A word of caution:
Food manufacturers may change the ingredients in the product without warning. It is a good idea to always read the product label before consuming the product. It is much easier to prevent a food-allergic reaction than to treat one.