Safety of food challenges to extensively heated egg in egg-allergic children: a prospective cohort study



Paul Turner, Section of Paediatrics (Allergy & Infectious Diseases), Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK.

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Many children with IgE-mediated allergy to egg can tolerate egg in baked foods. However, the clinical characteristics and severity of reactions of egg-allergic children who react to baked egg at open food challenge (OFC) are not well defined.


Children presenting to our tertiary referral clinic with a diagnosis of egg allergy and following complete egg avoidance in their diet were offered OFC to baked egg. Challenges were performed with incremental dosages to a total of one baked muffin containing 1/6 egg (equivalent to 1 g egg protein) following a standardized protocol. Data were collected prospectively from 2009–2012.


Open food challenge to baked egg were carried out on 236 egg-allergic children who had been strictly avoiding egg in their diet. A total of 150 children (64%) passed and successfully incorporated baked egg into their diet. Eighty-six children (36%) reacted to their challenge. Of these, 12 (14%) experienced anaphylaxis (according to WAO criteria), including four to <100 mg extensively heated egg protein. Intramuscular adrenaline was administered to 5 of the 12 children, one of whom required a second dose due to persistent hypotension. Skin prick testing, asthma, or prior egg anaphylaxis were not predictive of challenge outcome.


The majority of children with IgE-mediated allergy to egg were able to tolerate 1 g of baked egg protein, but the outcome of OFC remained unpredictable, and 14% of children who failed OFC reacted with anaphylaxis. We recommend that OFC to baked egg should take place under medical supervision.