Food Allergies

Corn Allergy News

42 Comments 27 September 2008

Epicurious recently had an interesting article* about corn allergies on their new Epi-log blog. As many of you know, I am allergic to corn and dairy. I always thought this allergy was uncommon, but this article points out that in the United States there are an estimated 10,000,000 people with a corn allergy! Whoa! Does anyone know why corn is not on the list of top eight food allergens? And why did they cut it off at eight? I bet corn is number 9 or 10!

If you have a corn allergy, you might enjoy watching the documentary King Corn. I really liked it. Uh, and maybe you can make some popcorn for the show!

I’m just curious, how many of you with celiac disease have additional food allergies? And what are they?

*The article mentions "corn gluten", this is not to be confused with wheat gluten, or gluten in the grains that are on the forbidden list for those with celiac disease. Corn is a safe ingredient for people on a gluten-free diet.

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Your Comments

42 Comments so far

  1. 1
    Nicole says:

    I’m supposed to avoid xantham/xanthan gum — which is corn based — and I’m GF — not so much fun there!

  2. 2
    Lisa says:

    I am allergic to corn and gluten free as well. I also avoid tomatoes, msg, nuts and mushrooms for migraine reasons.

  3. 3
    eileen says:

    my youngest is GF and DF.
    And I am GF and allergic to corn.

  4. 4

    Kelly — you’re right, corn allergies are VERY common. Also, people with digestive disorders like celiac often have multiple food sensitivities. Corn should have definitely been included in the food labeling regulations, but I wonder if the giant corn refiners and soda pop industries had any influence on whether or not corn was listed. It would have to be listed as a major food allergen on every product with high fructose corn syrup in it, which would mean soft drinks, junk food, etc. Hmmm? The cynic in me wonders.
    P.S. Did you see the new HFCS commercials? Argh…

  5. 5
    lisa says:

    I have a corn and gluten food allergy. I didn’t realize so many people had sensitivity or an allergy to corn. Makes me feel better – I’m not alone but its not too much fun because you have to be careful about what you eat.

  6. 6
    oliveoyl says:

    My 10 yo is allergic to gluten, dairy and corn. She feels so alone,it is so nice to know there are others! I am allergic to gluten and dairy.

  7. 7
    CeliacChick says:

    OH! It is so nice to meet other peeps that are corn,gluten, and dairy-free! 🙂 It is difficult to avoid all three or even one, especially in the beginning, but we can do it!
    I’m soooo relieved that the US isn’t like the EU where almost all of the gluten-free foods have corn starch in them. Years ago I worried about that.
    I do get my rash from Xanthan gum, evidently it is grown on a bacteria that is fed corn, but on rare occasion I can cheat since it is a minor reaction.
    When baking I sub guar gum for xanthan gum and it works fine!
    GFforGood- NO! I haven’t seen the corn syrup ads!! Send me a Youtube link or something! Yikes!

  8. 8
    Heather says:

    Yeah for intolerance bonding! I’m gluten-free and lactose intolerant (although since I went gluten-free I’ve had to expand that to dairy-free instead of just lactose). You mention those two stipulations to anyone in mid-Missouri and they don’t know how you even live, let alone eat.

  9. 9
    CeliacChick says:

    I found the HFCS commercials on YouTube!


    I watched the first one several times. I like how they carefully cast and portrayed the lady that actually knows the truth as a frumpy,uptight(and possibly crazy with those facial expressions) WASP and the pro HFCS lady was relaxed,sassy and cool. Just based on image anyone would want to identify more with the “cool” lady. The truth is that uneducated minorities are affected even more by crappy food products because they don’t know the dangers along with the considerable price difference in these products compared to whole foods and juices. Everything in this commercial was deliberate and calculated in order to be the most manipulative. Pfft.

    I suppose the second commercial was to target the college campus types that are telling people that HFCS is less than good. She’s like Eve, “here [batting eyelashes] just take a bite…]Made me laugh.

    btw:I know someone that used to work in a HFCS processing plant and he told me that part of the process involves formaldehyde! Nice!

    As you can see, don’t get me started on this topic! The HFCS mafia probably has it out for me now! If you find me in some dark alley with a corn cob jammed down my throat you’ll know why!

      Erin says:

      LOL- I am also allergic to corn and a celiac to boot. My husband often gets frustrated when he trys to shop or cook for me and says that one day I’m going to end up with a corn cob…. I have to take a sharpie at home and mark all the spices and condiments that have corn in them so he won’t accidentaly poison me. I used to only get heartburn when I ate corn but now I end up with pancrentitis.

  10. 10
    danielle says:

    I am gluten free, soy free, nut free and egg free…I thought I was having celiac attacks but really I just had other allergies. If there are any other celiacs who keep getting sick despite a gluten free diet, definitely go get tested by an allergist !

  11. 11
    Alison says:

    I have celiac and am allergic to shrimp and abalone, intolerant to soy and sensitive to certain wines. My daughter has multiple food allergies too. Her allergist said corn allergy is very rare, but I do believe there is a corn intolerance that is definitely growing — allergists can’t really test for that (using traditional tests).
    I stay away from corn syrup!

  12. 12
    Caryn says:

    Thanks for the info! We do no corn, gluten, soy, and are dairy reduced over here. Our son developed a tic disorder that was resolved with an organic, additive free, low grain diet.
    While the experts say that corn allergies are rare, I think corn intolerances are very common, especially when we consider what they are doing to the crops genetically and how they are growing them these days.

  13. 13

    Kelly — I did a post on HFCS, and as you know, that one on sugar as well. You’ve seen the sugar post, but if you’re interested, here’s the HFCS one.

  14. 14
    Tevis says:

    I’ve often wondered how many others had both celiac and a corn allergy. I too have a corn allergy, celiac, and quite a few other allergies (lettuce, grapefruit, cranberries, and many more). Thanks for posting about this, it’s great to know there are many more of us than we sometimes think!

    And, I loved King Corn too!

  15. 15
    janet says:

    In addition to being a celiac I am allergic to dairy, chocolate, peanuts, bananas, tomatoes, apples, soy and, latest addition since I am still acquiring allergies, cherries. I’m beginning to suspect that corn has become a problem too. I’m also allergic to cats and dogs, perfume and brand new things made from petrochemicals that gas off, giving off a “new” smell that most people enjoy but makes me sick.

  16. 16
    Michele says:

    I am allergic to corn, dairy, shrimp, tomatoes, peppers, eggs and beans. Lately I find eating certain grains leaves feeling bloated too. My daughter (celiac as well) cannot digest casein and also has allergies (ragweed, trees, grass.) Gf oats also cause a reaction with her.

  17. 17
    Li says:

    I’m unable to eat gluten, soy, legumes, nightshades, most fruit, and most vegetables, and have to watch the oxalate content of my food. Funny, though, corn is one of the few things I can eat! I definitely think most people who are gluten free probably need to avoid something else, too. It can be hard to pinpoint it, because most of us eat processed foods that contain oodles of ingredients. But it feels so good to not have tummy aches anymore!

  18. 18
    Rebecca says:

    My allergist informed me that I have a class II allergy to corn Friday; said that since it was class II it probably wasn’t causing my problems, but I should avoid corn to see if my symptoms (HIVES) went away. Oh my gosh!! I had no idea just how many products contain corn. I have been loading up on benadryl and ibuprofen (mouth sores) both of which have corn!!! OOPS! I’m feeling very overwhelmed, just by the need to avoid corn, nevermind the fact that I am celiac and already avoid wheat like the plague. There are so many lists of things to avoid — and they are all different. So appreciative of all the information you guys are providing!

  19. 19
    Michelle says:

    My son has Celiac’s disease and cannot have milk, and we recently discovered he can’t have corn either. I was wondering how sensitive you are though. Is it just corn flours that irritates you or do you also have to avoid corn syrup and modified corn starch? I ask because it’s extremely hard to find food a 2 year old can eat that doesn’t have modified food starch.

  20. 20
    Kathie says:

    I managed to stumble upon this website because of this blog (I did a Google search looking for Celiac Disease and Corn allergies). I too am struggling with Celiac, Lactose intolerance and a corn allergy. It’s nice to know I’m not alone! I feel as though my symptoms are not getting better, and I am still losing weight. I am curious as to what else they could even find. Another thing I am curious about is what grains are truly “safe” for Celiacs. If so many are now being diagnosed with corn allergies, is rice next and so on and so forth??

  21. 21
    Kathie says:

    I tracked down the address for the FDA and am planning to write a letters to them to petition a “corn allergy” addition to the top allergens list. If anyone else would like to, here is the info:

    Food and Drug Administration
    5600 Fishers Lane
    Rockville, MD 20857

    Hope everyone is doing well!

  22. 22

    So you have a real allergy? Allergists test for IgE (immediate or short term) reactions, not IgG. Do all here have true allergies or do folks have sensitivies as well? If so, what type of doctor did they go to determine?

    THANKS so much. I feel like I have issues with corn, gluten and dairy, but not sure how to confirm.

  23. 23
    Ami says:

    Does diet coke contain corn?

  24. 24
    Sharon Rosen says:

    I’m allergic to corn too…

    I’ve read through several of your articles but somehow missed this one. I’m always trying to find better numbers and documentation about corn allergy because I don’t believe is rare, and I think it’s more common than fish/shellfish. Of course, finding those numbers are pretty difficult…

    I began a petition on to have corn added to the food allergy labeling requirements by the FDA. Would you care to sign, and share the info about the petition?

    ~ Sharon

  25. 25
    Paige says:

    I am also a celiac with dairy and corn allergies. I have had a dairy allergy for many years, however the corn allergy is new and extremely difficult.

      kelly says:

      Hey Paige…welcome to the corn-free world! Yeah, I have been wanting to write more about corn allergies. Stick with me though, most of what I share is corn and dairy-free. : )

  26. 26
    Danielle says:

    Reading all of this is really helpful!……Since being diagnosed with celiac, i’ve continued eating oats but cut out all gluten and have been great! Recently, I increased my consumption of corn products and ALL of my symptoms have come back. I can’t tell if this is a corn allergy or the effect of eating oats that have been cross-contaminated that is just now showing up. Any thoughts? Are corn allergy symptoms similar to those with Celiac symptoms? I’m bed-ridden and confused! haha help…:)

  27. 27
    RA says:

    I am Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Yeast Free/Corn Free and TRY to avoid Soy as much as I can. Because of my primary lactose intolerance from birth, I was given Soy Formula. However, I am now in my late 20’s and have hormonal imbalances and beginnings of thyroid problems (underactive) probably due to the soy. Xantham gum is a derivative of corn and reading the labels in the supermarket has become a full time job! They say that corn gluten is not the same as wheat cluten and does not affect those with celiac’s. However, here is a link to a website that begs to differ:

    Hope this link helps!

  28. 28
    dee says:


    i have recently been diagnosed with, corn, barley, and gluten allergies.. i am a western european born in the us.. bread & pasta have been a staple in every meal.. this is going to take some getting used to… i am thankful that there are sites like this with so much helpful information.

    – cheers.

  29. 29
    Abby says:

    To everyone with multiple allergies, where did you have testing done determine them? I am gluten intolerant and went GF 4 months ago and lactose free 2 months ago as my symptoms improved but not completely. Now going DF as I learned there is a difference but I have a suspicion there are multiple allergies. Any suggestions welcomed as many tests (I.e. ALCAT, ELSA) are controversial regarding validity and I have already eliminated many foods from my diet.

  30. 30
    Susan says:

    It is so nice to know that I am not the only one out there with Celiac Disease and a corn allergy. It is tough enough following a strict gluten-free diet…and now that I know corn must also be eliminated from my diet I am really restricted. Basically, I can only eat whole foods now. When I make a turkey dinner I can no longer add cornstarch as a thickener for the gravy. Ha ha I wonder what tapioca will taste like?

      Andrea says:

      I’d like to shed light on food sensitivity here. There are allergies mentioned along with celiac and I just want to make sure people know that you may test negative for food allergies, and celiac but still have problems with gluten and other foods and could be helped with food sensitivity testing. Sensitivities are actually more common than (IgE) allergies and gluten sensitivity is more common than celiac. So even for those of you with confirmed celiac and food allergies, if you still don’t feel better you may still be eating foods that you are sensitive to. I did this testing when omitting gluten was helping but not enough. Sensitivities can be tricky to pinpoint since they are delayed reactions, sometimes up to 2-3 days. They cause inflammation in the body and can cause headaches, GI issues, muscle/joint pain, fuzzy headedness, skin issues and much more. Google food sensitivities and it’s shocking all the many symptoms they produce. There is a sensitivity test that is 90% accurate called the MRT (LEAP) test that currently tests 130 foods and chemicals. So allergy testing is not all there is to get information on foods that can affect our health! I wish you all luck and I totally hear you on the challenge it is not being able to have gluten AND corn!

  31. 31
    Christine says:

    Hi Kelly! First of all I love your website! I was diagnosed with Celiac in 2006 and since then have discovered that I am dairy and soy intolerant and corn might actually be becoming an issue too. A theory of mine is that the years if damage to the intestinal tract could have just made us hyper -sensitive to any grains and dairy of course.

  32. 32
    Laura F says:

    I am gluten and corn intolerant, and so are two of my children. Our reaction to both wheat and corn is the same — joint pain and headaches for me, stomache aches, diarrhea and terrible behavior problems in my kids.

  33. 33
    Ellen says:

    I am celiac, and after a few years of that, and eating tons of popcorn and grits and cornbread, I had a really bad attack, just like a gluten attack. So I went to the doctor and he was entirely unsurprised, told me that corn has a protein that is shaped like the gluten molecule and so many celiacs develop a cross sensitivity.

    So why isn’t corn on that list? Because 90 percent of all products in my grocery store for celiacs have corn in them, either corn starch or maltodextrin or xanthan gum, if not corn meal.

    How can we get it on that list? I have a very hard time finding foods I can eat.

      Kelly says:

      Ellen…thanks for telling us this! Sounds like you have a great doc! I didn’t know that about the corn protein. I’ve been reading a bit on cross reactive foods, but didn’t know that specifically about corn. Could you do me a favor (and others:)) and ask your doc where he found that information? I like to have respected info sources before I publicize info like this. I believe it, but you know. And I’m teaching a GF/corn-free class at an expo in Indianapolis in October. The more interesting info, the better!

      My opinion on why corn is in everything in America is because it is a subsidized food crop…one of the largest in the US. So, probably lobbyists are protecting corn’s reputation…just like high fructose corn syrup. Have you seen King Corn? I highly recommend it.

      Keep in touch!

  34. 34
    Caligirl says:

    So happy to find this site, after 1 year on Dairy and Gluten free, only thing left in my diet is CORN. So bingo I’m a winner in your Corn group. Trifecta! I need help with restarting a diet plan, cuz I was so fixated on the dairy and gluten. I just feel emotionally overwhelmed that I wasted 1 year. My family friends are SO sick of me complaining. Now I will only travel where I have MY own kitchen. Has anyone made a pre-shopping list that helps? Or suggestion of how to eat out without driving everyone insane!
    I would love to get as many suggestions. I am also going ALL GMO free cuz I have no other choice. Thanks Kelly, for all your help. I am working hard on the #YESon37 for Label GMO’s. I guess I just need to hear that this is ALL possible and have a life.

  35. 35
    Ellen says:

    I am definitely allergic to corn. I mean, I react to it the same way as I react to wheat. When I went gluten free, I began to depend on corn quite a bit. And I ate a lot of popped corn. I had been eating popped corn almost daily and I had what I consider to be a full-blown gluten attack.

    I went to see the GI doc, and he said right off the bat, well, you’re allergic to corn, too, and you’re reacting to it.

    It is almost impossible to avoid completely, however. I do try, but I take medications, some of which certainly have corn-derived ingredients. And now I am suffering from chronic malabsorption.

    It’s important that they begin to label corn, and put it on that list! I feel anxious and shakey, quivery, trembly, every day, and sometimes it gets worse and I cramp up all over, can’t sleep, get constipated, lose my appetite, and overall just feel like I’m going to die. And this is me trying like hell to avoid corn.


  36. 36
    Ellen says:

    I just realized I had already posted on this site some time ago.

    If you search for corn cross-sensitivity now, I think you will find that there has been a study finding that problem for some celiacs.

    Here is one link:


  37. 37
    Rita Torres says:

    I am gluten intolerant and seem to be very sensitive to wheat, soy and vinegar. My celiac blood test was negative in May 2013 and blood and skin allergy tests were negatiive for wheat and corn. It seems that I am sensitive to corn, however, sometimes feeling nauseated or itchy. If I am a celiac, would consuming corn harm my small intestine as would gluten? Thanks

  38. 38
    Rebecca says:

    reading all of the various websites info re coeliac disease, lactose intolerance and the corn and corn derivatives issues have been so life-changingly useful for me over the past ten years, yet having only recently been aware of dextrose, maltodextrin and xanthan gum over the past month,with other ‘secret corn-culprits’, and avoiding them, life is even better – why is this not common knowledge to doctors, dieticians, etc? I suggest a damn good journalist should investigate, and try to blow the corn industry, and the ‘gluten free’ product factories out of the water.

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Kelly Courson


Thanks for stopping by! I'm Kelly Courson and this is where I've shared my gluten-free finds since 2003. The world has been my gluten-free oyster for 14 years now and I love sharing what I've learned in order to help others adapt to a gluten-free diet. Have a look around and feel free to leave a comment. Connecting with people like you is what has kept me going this long! Seriously.

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