Corn is the hardest of the top ten allergens to regulate because it is not only excluded from the U.S. government’s regulatory list of common allergens, but it is also in over 80% of the processed foods, drinks, cosmetic, and hygiene products we consume.
A corn allergy can be severe and cause anaphylactic shock but there are few reports of it, so experts consider corn allergies very rare.
Corn intolerance, however, is more common than you think. Many people on already restrictive diets will eventually discover that they also need to avoid corn when they try an elimination diet. When dealing with a corn allergy or intolerance the best practice is to make the entire house corn-free, which is a daunting task to say the least, but necessary to help the child cope better.
Corn is also a highly fungal food and a corn-free diet may be prescribed to help a patient overcome a fungal overgrowth issue. This is quite different than dealing with an actual corn allergy or corn intolerance, however. The corn-allergic or corn-intolerant person will get physical symptoms that make them feel ill either immediately or within 24-48 hours when they are exposed to corn. Those on a corn restricted diet for fungal issues may decide to resume moderate amounts of corn ingestion once the body has healed and recovered from the fungal infection.
Various meats (cold cuts, ham, hotdogs, sausages)
Breaded or fried foods
Cheese (all kinds, sliced cheese is coated in corn starch, it is an added ingredient in cottage cheese. Know your brands and read all labels.)
Fried potatoes or fried rice (if corn oil is used)
Mixed vegetables (frozen, canned)
Pork and beans
Breads/ pizza crusts dusted with corn meal
Pancakes (certain mixes)
Gravy (thickened with corn starch, for instance)
Canned or frozen fruits sweetened with corn syrup
Dates and other fruit confections
Ice creams, sherbets
Chocolate milk, milk shakes, soy milks, eggnog
American wines, whiskey, gin, beer, ale
Carbonated beverages such as Coca-Cola, 7-Up, etc
Jams and jellies
Adhesives (envelopes, stickers, stamps)
Fish oil products
Corn is a hidden ingredient in many products that you wouldn’t think contain corn as an ingredient or a derivative. Contact the manufacturer to find out if a product ingredient is derived from corn or not.
Xanthan gum is a bacteria that is grown on corn and used in gluten-free baked goods as a binder. Some people with corn allergies also have to avoid xanthan gum.
Because corn is not officially recognized as a common allergen companies do not have to legally disclose corn byproducts in their ingredient labels. Always consult corn allergy websites, support groups, and forums for experience and advice from other corn allergy/ intolerance sufferers.
Because corn is used in so many processed products and unregulated as an allergen, it is impossible to generate a definitive list of ingredient derivatives containing corn. If you or your child suffer from a corn allergy and you think you have had a reaction to a product derivative, report it on an allergen list.
Don’t lick envelopes if you have a corn allergy. The adhesive is made from corn starch.
The glucose syrup used in IVs is made from corn.
Acetic acid (an ingredient in vinegar that is sometimes derived from corn)
Aspartame (Artificial sweetener)
Blended sugar (sugaridextrose)
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
Calcium stearoyl lactylate
Caramel and caramel color
Citrus cloud emulsion (CCS)
Coco glycerides (cocoglycerides)
Corn alcohol, corn gluten
Corn oil, corn oil margarine
Corn sweetener, corn sugar
Corn syrup, corn syrup solids
Corn, popcorn, cornmeal
DATUM (a dough conditioner)
Dextrose (also found in IV solutions)
Dextrose anything (such as monohydrate or anhydrous)
Distilled white vinegar (can also be from wheat, but in the U.S. is always corn)
High fructose corn syrup
Hydrolyzed corn protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate (HPMCP)
Invert syrup or sugar
Malt syrup from corn
Malt, malt extract
Modified cellulose gum
Modified corn starch
Mono and di glycerides
Polylactic acid (PLA)
Salt (iodized salt always contains corn in the form of maltodextrin)
Sodium starch glycolate
Sodium stearoyl fumarate
Splenda (Artificial sweetener)
Starch (any kind that's not specified)
Sucralose (Artificial sweetener)
Tocopherol (vitamin E, unless the label specifically says corn-free)
Treacle (aka golden syrup)
Vanilla, natural flavoring
Vanilla, pure or extract
Vinegar, distilled white
Xylitol (xylitol U.S.A. is made from birch and not corn)
Alcohol (almost ALWAYS contains corn)
Baking powder (almost ALWAYS contains corn. Only a few brands don’t)
Brown Sugar (generally okay if no carmel color is added)
Flavorings (unless the product is listed as corn-free, they are likely corn derived).
Fructose (almost ALWAYS contains corn)
Fruit juice concentrate (know your brands)
Glucose, Glucose syrup (can be made from cane sugar and beet sugar)
Citric Acid (almost ALWAYS contains corn. Only a few brands don’t)
Honey (corn syrup may be present or fed to bees)
Lactic Acid (usually made from corn starch but can be made from beet sugar)
Lecithin (can also come from soy, animal byproducts, egg, and peanuts)
Modified food starch (almost always contains corn)
Molasses (corn syrup may be present)
Polysorbates (e.g. Polysorbate 80)
Propylene glycol monostearate
Seminola (unless from wheat)
Sorghum (the syrup or the grain CAN be cross-contaminated with corn)
Stearic Acid (almost ALWAYS corn derived. It can be animal derived too. It is a binder and is used in gum, candy, butter flavoring, vanilla flavoring, and fruit wax on fresh fruit)
Sugar that is not identified as cane or beet sugar
Vanilla Extract (almost always made with corn glycerin or corn-based alcohol)
Vegetable anything that is not specific
Vitamins (unless the label specifies it more than likely has corn)
Yeast (usually grown on corn or wheat)