Although corn syrup allergies in babies are rare, they can occur. If your baby is having symptoms of an allergy and is being fed formula, the baby could have a corn syrup allergy. This food allergy is a growing problem in the United States, where almost all foods have some type of corn or corn derivative, including baby formula. Infants and babies can develop an allergy to corn syrup, an ingredient that is commonly found in infant formulas.
A Corn Allergy Can Be Severe
Research on corn allergy has been sparse, but babies and children who are allergic to corn can have very serious allergic reactions. One study completed at Tulane University by the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Department involved test subjects between the ages of 5 and 65 who tested positive for corn allergy with a skin-prick test.
In a group of 19 patients with corn allergy, five of them had serious allergic reactions when they were given extracts of cooked corn, raw corn, corn pollen or corn chips to eat. These reactions included anaphylaxis, hives, swelling of the face, wheezing and other serious reactions. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, was one of the less serious consequences of eating corn.
Most Baby Formulas Contain Some Corn Derivatives
Although babies do not eat the foods that were given to those in the research at Tulane University, the formula is their only food for many months. Corn is a very common food product in the U.S., and corn syrup is used in almost every powdered or liquid formula on the market.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), the corn syrup found in formula is from corn starch that has been highly processed to remove impurities, including corn protein. Most allergists advise parents to feed children allergic to corn syrup hypoallergenic formula, which does contain corn syrup.
Symptoms of Corn Syrup Allergies In Babies
A baby who is allergic to the corn syrup in her formula may develop a rash or hives. It is also possible to have more severe reactions such as swelling of the tongue and face. The baby may also have stomach pain and will cry to let the parent know that something is wrong. Very severe symptoms such as wheezing or trouble breathing require immediate medical emergency care.
Many Cereals and Baked Goods Contain Corn Derivatives
Cereal is usually the first solid food fed to a baby, and some of these have corn derivatives in them. Parents need to read every food label if they
suspect that their child has this allergy. Cereals that toddlers may eat as finger foods are often sweetened with corn syrup. Allergy testing will reveal if the child does have a corn allergy, but in the meantime, any food with corn should be avoided.
Parents should suspect that corn syrup may be an ingredient in any food that is pre-sweetened. Ingredients like dextrose, fructose, and dextrin are made with corn. Corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup needs to be avoided. Corn is also found in baking soda confectioners’ sugar cornmeal and cornstarch, which are used in a variety of baked goods.