The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

More Information about the Corn Protein, Zein

Posted on July 20, 2012 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

VRG Research Director

In November and December 2011, The VRG received a few comments about a December 2010 VRG blog post on zein, a corn protein. In that post, zein was described as “non-allergenic.”
http://www.vrg.org/blog/2010/12/13/zein-used-for-shellac-biodegradable-coatings-diapers%E2%80%A6/

At least two companies that extract zein from corn to be manufactured into a wide range of food- and nonfood products describe zein as non-allergenic. The VRG gathered information on zein’s properties from several sources including these two zein companies. Interested readers may visit their websites for more information: http://www.globalprotein.com/zein.html and http://www.inviz.com/product.asp

As of now, corn is not considered “a major food allergen” by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
http://www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm106187.htm

On its website, the FDA states that the eight identified food allergens: milk, egg, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans are responsible for “90%” of all food allergies. The FDA also recognizes that there are over 160 foods that cause allergies in sensitive individuals.
http://www.fda.gov/food/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/guidancedocuments/foodlabelingnutrition/foodlabelingguide/ucm064880.htm

Also on the FDA website are personal testimonies describing peoples’ allergic reactions to corn and corn products:

Those who wish to see corn added to the FDA’s list of major food allergens are encouraged to write to the FDA and provide testimony as to how corn and corn products are allergenic as demonstrated in the two
links directly given above.

There is some research being done on corn allergies. Readers may view this document for more information:
http://www.pewtrusts.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/Reports/Food_and_Biotechnology/hhs_biotech_snapshot.pdf

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements.Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.

For more information on food processing methods and food ingredients and to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients, please visit our website at
http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php
For updates on ingredients and other information of interest to vegetarians and vegans, please subscribe to our free enewsletter at
http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/

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