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A Top Infant Food Allergy You Might Not Know About? Corn

As a food allergy parent, understanding research and food labels is a massive part of protecting your children. In reality, your baby can react to any food — and corn just might be the culprit.


Did you know the FDA doesn’t recognize corn as a top food allergy? That means corn (and its many derivatives) doesn’t have to be clearly labeled. While you may not think corn’s a staple for your family, it hides out in many food items you’d never think about. Removing it from your diet and learning if it’s a trigger is challenging, to say the least.

We know from peer-reviewed research and our own surveys that corn causes allergic reactions in babies. Let’s take a closer look at research, corn allergy symptoms, and hidden names to help pinpoint your child’s triggers.


How Do I Know If My Infant Has Corn Allergy Symptoms?


Simple answer: You won’t immediately. It takes time, diligence, and support to figure out if corn is a trigger. All food allergy symptoms land under the same umbrella, so it really comes down to documenting details. First and foremost, remember you know your baby best. Even if your concerns have been dismissed, trust your gut and keep tracking everything.


When it comes to symptoms, your child could experience one or multiple issues. The severity can range from mild to severe for any type of reaction too.


Look out for one or a combination of these common infant food allergy symptoms [1]:

  • Reflux

  • Vomiting

  • Rash

  • Eczema

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Mucousy stool or bloody stool

  • Colic

  • Lethargy

  • Airway restriction

  • Failure to Thrive

Any food allergy symptoms can come and go, leading to confusion about what’s actually causing the reactions. Keeping a food journal’s always a good first step when nailing down triggers. Use our free app to keep it all in one place! Find it on the app store or make an account here.


What’s Research Say On Corn Allergies?


As we mention, the FDA doesn’t recognize corn as a top allergen — but studies show that people are indeed allergic to corn (sometimes referred to as maize).


A European study concluded that maize causes IgE-mediated food allergies. (For more information on IgE food allergies, go here!) For 23% of participants, symptoms affected two major organ systems: the skin and lungs. [2]


When food allergens impact two organ systems (skin and lungs) — it’s classified as induced anaphylaxis.


So, corn can definitely wreak havoc in a baby’s body. All the more reason to stay vigilant and get support from experts!


You may know that heat usually changes protein structures that can cause allergic reactions. So cooking breaks down (also known as “denaturing”) some allergens to the point of not causing a reaction. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with corn. Another study out of Europe, shows the major corn allergen maintains its structure at high temperatures known to denature other allergenic proteins. [3] As allergy parents, we must treat corn and its derivatives even more carefully.


Corn’s hard to eliminate from your diet because it’s heavily used in processing and manufacturing countless other food products. Cross-contamination becomes a major concern, especially when you’re already trying to decipher your baby’s allergens. Let’s dive into how to spot corn on labels and next steps for getting a diagnosis and treatment.


Food Allergy Diagnosis & Corn’s Hidden Names

If you’re new here, we’re sorry to say – getting a food allergy diagnosis for your baby’s a bit of a challenge. Skin Prick Tests (SPT) and Blood Tests remain standard, but typically only when your baby’s at least 6 months old. Plus, they only test for IgE-mediated food allergies.


Many of the families we serve deal with non-IgE-mediated food allergies, so testing isn’t always the answer. (But sometimes it’s really important, which our consults help you decipher!)


Diagnosing food allergies can boil down to what you notice as a parent, persistent symptoms in your child, and a trial of eliminating foods with an improvement of symptoms.


Treatment for Your Baby’s Corn Allergies


When you’re breast/chestfeeding and want to continue, your options are limited — real limited. Basically, “treatment” requires completely removing corn from your diet. We know this new reality can be hard to imagine. We’re here to support you with encouragement and tools for your next moves.


We know each person has different feeding goals, so if you’re considering formula, read this.