The most common confusion about reading food labels that I encounter with all of my clients concerns eggs: if you’ve been diagnosed with an egg allergy, don’t be fooled by a dairy-free label. Eggs are not dairy, despite the fact that they’re sold in the dairy aisles at most grocery stores. Dairy refers exclusively to products made from cow’s (or any mammal’s) milk (like butter, yogurt and cheese). “Dairy-free” foods, in other words, may still contain eggs. The good news is that eggs have to be labeled by law in the ingredients lists on packaged foods – but read your labels carefully.
Keep in mind that eggs can appear as an ingredient in products where you wouldn’t necessarily expect them – in pastas, soups, salad dressings, marinades, meatballs, turkey burgers, and even ice cream and marshmallows (!). So again, read all food labels. And when dining out, be sure to ask (and ask again!) about the ingredients in everything you order: my son Adam’s only anaphylactic reaction in the last fifteen years came from eggs that were an ingredient in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing at a restaurant (we did actually ask about ingredients, but the waiter forgot to mention the eggs, hence the need to always carry your EpiPen!).