There are no cures for a food allergy that I or my doctor are aware of. So what are you or your corn-allergic family member to do? Eliminate corn from your diet. That is probably exactly what your doctor has told you. Your doctor probably gave you a list of foods that contain corn and referred you to a nutritionist as well.
However, avoiding corn is not as easy as it sounds. It is not as simple as not eating corn-on-the-cob or staying away from corn syrup. Very broadly, here are the things you should eliminate for a corn-free diet:
- Items that contain corn;
- Items that contain corn derivatives;
- Items that use corn as part of the preparation or packaging process;
- Items that are made from corn.
Eliminating hidden corn from a diet is the biggest challenge. For some inexplicable reason, if a food item (allergen or not) is used as part of the preparation or packaging process, it is exempt from the requirement to be listed as an ingredient, thereby "hiding" it from the consumer (think of cornmeal baked into bagel crusts but not listed in the ingredients). Over the past couple of years, milk, peanuts and eggs have gotten a bit of attention, and it is more common to see an allergen notice on prepared foods that may contain those items. An ingredient of an item being derived from corn is another way corn is hidden in our foods.
Whether to try a product with corn allergens as ingredients, or to avoid that product is always a difficult situation to assess, and varies as much as the symptoms of the allergy to. What I often tell people who ask about this is to tread carefully. In general, if your reactions are mild, you might be able to try something and see what happens. However, if your reactions are more severe, then you are better off avoiding the product. And if you ever react to a "safe" food, save the container. It may be that the ingredients have changed but the packaging did not. If you keep the old packaging, you can verify this when the new packaging comes out, listing the offending ingredient.