A day in the life

As some of you know, I belong to a closed group on facebook for the discussion and support of corn allergies. The below info was found by one of the group, and I thought it might be fun for you all to see all the factors that go into choices I make in a few aspects of life. The below is not a full extensive list, but a good starting point.

Please note this information was gleaned from the below.

Where’s the Corn in Foods? http://cornallergygirl.com/2013/06/03/wheres-the-corn-in-foods/

Where’s the Corn in Medical Supplies and Equipment?http://cornallergygirl.com/2013/06/03/wheres-the-corn-in-medical-supplies-and-equipment/

Where’s the Corn in Non-Food Products? http://cornallergygirl.com/2013/06/03/wheres-the-corn-in-non-food-products/

 

 

Corn in Foods :

APPLES: Can be waxed with a corn-based wax, or the carriers, flowing agents, and solvents used to make the wax sprayable are corn-based.  Organic apples are waxed with shellac or carnauba wax which are suspended in corn-based agents or solvents. Organic apples can also be sprayed with organic pesticides that are suspended in corn-based solvents such as ethanol or corn-based coating agents.

ASCORBIC ACID (Vitamin C): Supplemental ascorbic acid is synthesized from corn. As an ingredient of another product, the acid isn’t labeled because it’s in a minute amount and considered insignificant by the U.S. FDA.

AVOCADOS: Can be gassed with ethylene to ripen them.

BAKING POWDER: A mixture of chemical leavening agents and starch. The starch is usually cornstarch, but Hain Featherweight uses potato starch. (Reactions reported to Hain by the most sensitive, probably due to cross contamination.)

BANANAS: Can be gassed with ethylene to ripen them.

BEEF: The cow may have been fed corn as part of it’s diet. Even some grass-fed cows are finished with corn to help fatten them up. If you are able to source a cow that has been grass-fed *and* grass-finished, there are several potential “corn hurdles” to overcome during the processing of the animal.

BEEF – PROCESSING: The meat may be sprayed with lactic or citric acid or some other anti-bacterial agent before the meat is hung to age – an anti-bacterial agent is recommended for cattle that are not pasture-fed and –finished (see discussion here). During the processing, the equipment and/or meat may be sprayed with an anti-bacterial. The processed meat may be packaged on a Styrofoam tray containing a citric acid-saturated soaker pad underneath the meat, and then wrapped with shrinkwrap or plastic wrap.

BERRIES: May have been treated with citric acid.

BUTTER – SALTED: Avoid “light” butters and flavored butters, which generally contain a whole host of “corny” ingredients. If the salt is iodized, it may contain dextrose, which is “corny.” Some folks react to the corn in the cow’s diet.

BUTTER – UNSALTED: May contain lactic acid and/or “natural flavoring.” Avoid “light” butters and flavored butters, which generally contain a whole host of “corny” ingredients. Some folks react to the corn in the cow’s diet.

CANNED BEANS:

CANNED BROTH/STOCK: Corn may have been one of the broth ingredients. May contain canola oil, which can contain a “corny” citric acid. Filtered water (an ingredient in some brands of broth) can be “corny,” depending on the filter used. Other ingredients which may be corny include MSG, “natural flavorings,” seasonings, and spices.

CANNED FISH: The fish could have been packed in “corny” ice on the boat. Some canned fish products contain vegetable broth, which is often “corny”. Other ingredients which may be corny include citric acid, flavorings, seasonings, and spices.

CANNED FRUITS (including Applesauce): Can contain artificial sweeteners, ascorbic acid, cellulose, citric acid, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, “natural flavor,” sorbitol, spices, and/or sucralose. Cross-contamination may be a concern. Plastic containers can be problematic for some. Cleanser used in glass jars can be problematic for some.

CANNED SOUP:

CANNED VEGGIES (including Tomato products): Can contain calcium chloride (???), citric acid, “natural flavor,” seasonings, spices, vinegar. Cross-contamination may be a concern. Tomato products often have citric acid or ascorbic acid added to adjust the pH level and to prevent spoilage — as an ingredient of another product, the acid doen’t have to be labeled because it’s in a minute amount and considered insignificant by the FDA.

CANOLA OIL: Processed with citric acid and hexane (a petroleum-based solvent); citric acid can be used as a degumming agent. If the oil is in a plastic bottle, the bottle can be corn-derived.

CARAMEL: Commercial food producers often use corn syrup to make caramel, although it can be made, instead, from cane sugar or beet sugar. Caramel can be used as a flavoring or a coloring.

CARROTS – BABY and/or WHOLE – BAGGED: May contain citric acid as an anti-bacterial.

CHEESE: Vegetarian enzymes and vegetarian rennet can be corny; see also “Vegetarian Rennet”. In particular, the enzyme “chymosin” can be grown on a genetically-modified corn base. Cornstarch can be used as a non-stick agent in the packaging or on the conveyor belt, or as a non-caking agent in pre-shredded cheese. The waxy coating can be corny. The coloring can be corny (ex: annatto, which is often made with cornstarch). Also beware if the cheese contains vinegar, flavoring, or cellulose.

CHLORINE: Cornstarch can be used as a de-clumping agent.

CITRIC ACID: Cultures of the mold Aspergillus niger are fed on a sugary solution, often corn-based (in spite of the word “citric” being part of the ingredient name), to create citric acid. Citric acid can be used as a flavoring and/or preservative in MANY foods, including raw meat and fresh produce (including organic), medications (OTC and prescription), personal hygiene products, and so on. As an ingredient of another product, citric acid isn’t labeled because it’s a minute amount and considered insignificant by the U.S. FDA.

CITRUS FRUITS: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

COCOA POWDER:

COCONUT – PROCESSED: Cornstarch can be used as a de-clumping agent. Corn may also be hidden in the form of sulfites or sulfates that are used to maintain the snow-white color.

COFFEE: Can be roasted with dextrose (?) (need more info)

COOKING OILS: If bottled in plastic, the bottles can be corn-derived. The oils can be rendered corny during refining. Need to determine what is used during the extraction process (alcohol or other medium?), and if any defoaming agents are used.

“CORN”-ANYTHING: Cornmeal, cornstarch, corn syrup, corn oil, popcorn, etc. If it has corn in its name, it’s pretty certain to be a problem. Cornstarch can be used in the manufacturing of a variety of products yet not be listed on the label of those products (example: sliced cheeses, Quaker oats, sanitary napkins, some gelatin capsules, etc.).

CORNED BEEF: Corned beef is cured with coarse salt that resembles kernels of corn. However, processed meats, including corned beef, often contain dextrose, food starch, or corn syrup, so don’t assume corned beef is corn-free unless you’ve made it yourself or have done meticulous research about corned beef you’re purchasing, or receiving, from someone else.

COW’S MILK: Lowfat and nonfat milks are enriched; see “Vitamins” for more information. The carrier used for the vitamins can be corny (ask if propylene glycol or polysorbates are used in the carrier). The milk container can be corny. The cows’ diet may have contained corn (a problem for some folks). Whole organic milk will be a safer choice, but not all brands of whole organic milk are corn-free.

CROSS-CONTAMINATION: Sometimes a corn-free product will become “corny” due to cross-contamination. Examples: a corn-free grain processed on the same line or in the same facility as corn; a corn-free cow processed after a corn-taminated cow; grocery store bulk bins can be a source of cross-contamination. For grains, finding a company that processes only one type of grain helps prevent cross-contamination concerns.

CUCUMBERS: Can be waxed with a corn-based wax.

DEXTRIN: Thickening agent often made from cornstarch. Can be found in sauces, dressings, and ice cream.

DEXTROSE: Also known as “glucose” or “corn sugar”. A simple sugar often made from corn. Used in a variety of foods, including cookies, ice cream, and sports drinks. Also shows up in prepared foods that are supposed to be crispy, such as french fries, fish sticks, and tater tots. Common in IV solutions, which can be quite dangerous for the corn-allergic.

DIGLYCERIDES: Glycerides can be derived from animal or vegetable (including corn), or may be synthetically-made. They act as emulsifiers and are used in bakery products, beverages, ice cream, gum, shortening, whipped toppings, margarine, and confections.

EGGPLANT: Can be waxed with a corn-based wax.

EGGS: A chicken’s diet nearly always contains corn. Additionally, xanthophylls, which is a source of coloring agents for yolks, is now being extracted from corn gluten to add to chicken feed — it doesn’t have to be on the ingredients list because it’s not an ingredient, rather it’s a tool used to get the eggs to look nicer without tampering with the end product. The eggs may have been washed with an egg detergent/sanitizer, which could be derived from corn, and then wiped with an edible oil to replace the natural barrier that was removed in the cleaning process — the edible oil could be mineral oil or a corny vegetable oil. Eggshells are porous, so what’s on the outside of the egg can possibly end up inside, if even in a very minute amount. If you’re buying eggs from a farmer’s market or an individual, be sure to ask how they handle their eggs.

“ENRICHED” / “FORTIFIED” FOODS: See “Vitamins”.

EXCIPIENTS: Substances used to bind the contents of a pill or tablet. Can be derived from corn.

EXTRACTS (ex: vanilla extract): These are usually in a corn alcohol, or extracted with corn alcohol. If the extract is alcohol-free, it can contain glycerin, which is often corn-derived. Alcohol-free vanilla (and corn-free vanilla) are often extracted using corn alcohol, then the alcohol is evaporated off leaving behind the corny residue, and then this is added to other liquids. If the vanilla was created using this method, it is not corn-free and has just as much allergen risk as regular corn-alcohol vanillas. For it to be a truly corn-free vanilla extract, it must be extracted by non-corn-derived ingredients, and contain only non-corn-derived ingredients.

FISH: Their feed can contain corn. For wild-caught fish, potential sources of corn are the ice on the boat (can contain citric acid), a corn syrup-based coating (slurry) used on fish that will be frozen, corn-based preservatives, or the packaging.

FLOUR: The vitamins in “enriched” or “fortified” flour can be corny, as can the carrier used to transfer them into the flour. There can be cross-contamination in the facility that processes the flour if they also process any kind of corn products, especially cornstarch or cornmeal. See also “Flour – Bleached”.

FLOUR – BLEACHED: According to the U.S. FDA’s guidelines, it’s possible for bleached flour to contain cornstarch without any obvious mention on the label, because cornstarch is allowed as a diluent for some bleaching agents. Since the flour is labeled as “bleached”, you’re supposed to understand that it could contain any of the many bleaching agents and their inactive ingredients.

FRUCTOSE: A simple sugar often made from corn. Usually seen in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

FRUIT: (also refer to the individual fruits) Gases, waxes, washes, and coatings — things to retard spoilage and bacteria — can be corn-derived. For folks who are super sensitive to corn, the fertilizer and pest control can be problematic if they contain corn derivatives. For some individuals, things grown with manure from animals which were fed corn can be problematic, as can fish emulsion. Even organic growers can use fish emulsion, and the emulsion is from farmed fish, which are fed corn (and gluten), so the corn is not only in the fish but also in the water, and, therefore, all over the fish, and the emulsion is sprayed all over the fruit trees / plants. Soap sprays used on plants / trees can be corny. For some people, fruit grown near corn can create enough of a cross-contamination to cause a reaction.

GARLIC: Can be treated with an anti-sprouting agent.

GRAPEFRUIT: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

GRAPES: May have been sprayed with a “corny” anti-fungal.

HERBS: Dried herbs can be treated with a corny preservative.

HONEY: Some beekeepers use corn syrup in the winter as a supplemental food for their bees. (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/) Honey hives located near corn fields can be problematic for some corn-sensitive individuals.

INVERT SUGAR SYRUP: A mixture of glucose and fructose, and can contain citric or asorbic acid.

JAMS/JELLIES: Pectin often contains dextrose/dextrins as the stabilizer. The dextrose/dextrins do not have to be listed on the label of jams/jellies/preserves because ingredients of ingredients do not have to be listed.

JUICE CONCENTRATES: These generally have either citric acid or asorbic acid added to adjust the pH level as needed; both acids can be corn-derived.

KUMQUATS: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

LACTIC ACID: Like citric acid, lactic acid is a tartness agent and preservative. Often used in the manufacture of cheese, sour-milk products, sourdough bread, beer, wine, and as an anti-bacterial agent. It’s derived from lactose, which can be made from corn.

LEMONS: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

LIMES: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

MALT; MALT SYRUP; MALT EXTRACT: Malt is germinated grain — often barley, but it can be any grain, including corn, which is typically cheaper than barley. Unspecified malt on a label is probably not barley. Malt can be found in alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, chocolate, breakfast cereals, etc.

MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT:Can be found in cereals. Usually extracted using grain alcohol and the grain is usually corn. (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/)

MALTODEXTRIN: A thickening agent often made from cornstarch. Can be found in sauces, dressings, and ice cream.

MAPLE SYRUP: Some maple syrups may have had a de-foaming agent used, and that de-foaming agent can be corny.

MEDICATIONS: OTC meds contain a list of inactive ingredients, which are used to hold the preparation together in an easily-measured dosage. Prescription meds, on the other hand, are not required to list those inactive ingredients. Common excipients, or medicinal fillers and binders, that can be derived from corn include, but are not limited to, alcohol, artificial flavoring, microcrystalline cellulose (and anything else with the word “cellulose”), citric acid, cornstarch (or simply “starch” or “modified food starch”), dextrose, glucose, glycerine, lactate, maltose, mannitol, propylene glycol, saccharin, sorbitol, xanthan gum, and zein. Information about getting medications compounded to exclude corn derivatives can be found here.

MOLASSES: Can contain added colorings, which can be corn-derived, and sometimes corn syrup. Molasses producers often use a defoamer during the processing, and that defoamer can be derived from corn. (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/)

MONOGLYCERIDES: Glycerides can be derived from animal or vegetable (including corn), or may be synthetically-made. They act as emulsifiers and are used in bakery products, beverages, ice cream, gum, shortening, whipped toppings, margarine, and confections.

MSG: A flavor enhancer used in many packaged and prepared foods, produced by the fermentation of starch (including corn), sugar beets, sugar cane, or molasses.

MUSHROOMS: May be grown on a “corny” medium.

“NATURAL FLAVOR(S)”: How were the flavors extracted? If with grain alcohol, which grain? (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/)

NUTS: Need to inquire how they’re pasteurized, what is used for pest control during growth and also after harvest, and if they are washed after processing (if so, with what?). Can be cross-contaminated during manufacturing (cleaner used on lines may be corny; other products used on the same line may be corny; workers may be wearing cornstarch-powdered gloves). Packaging may be corny. Loose nuts can be cross-contaminated in bulk bins at stores. Salt and/or seasonings may be corny.

ORANGES: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

ORGANIC: The use of the “organic” label does not necessarily equate to a product being corn-free — corn can be organic, after all. Produce preservatives, washes, and waxes can be corn-based. Pesticides which are corn-based and fertilizers which contain corn can be organic; corn gluten can be used as a pre-emergent herbicide. Organic canned goods can contain an “organic” citric acid. Organic meats can be processed with a corny wash/anti-bacterial. Organic potato chips can contain corn-based dextrose and maltodextrin. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

PASTA: Beware “enriched” or “fortified” pastas; see “Vitamins” for more information. Cross-contamination can be a concern if the pasta is processed on equipment, or in a facility, that processes corn products.

PEARS: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

PECTIN: Dextrose/dextrins often used as the stabilizer. The dextrose/dextrins do not have to be listed on the label of jams/jellies/preserves because ingredients of ingredients do not have to be listed.

PEPPERS: Can be waxed with a corn-based wax.

PRESERVES: Pectin often contains dextrose/dextrins as the stabilizer. The dextrose/dextrins do not have to be listed on the label of jams/jellies/preserves because ingredients of ingredients do not have to be listed.

POTATOES: Can be gassed with ethylene to ripen them; can be treated with an anti-sprouting agent.

POULTRY: They are typically fed corn as part of their diet. If you are able to source a chicken or turkey that has not been fed corn, there are several potential “corn hurdles” to overcome during the processing of the animal.

POULTRY – PROCESSING: The carcass may be sprayed with citric acid or some other anti-bacterial. The poultry may be packaged on a Styrofoam tray containing a citric acid-saturated soaker pad underneath the poultry, and then wrapped with shrinkwrap or plastic wrap. A whole chicken or turkey is usually wrapped in plastic. The inside of the packaging may contain cornstarch, to keep the poultry from sticking to the packaging.

PLASTIC: Corn can be chemically-inserted into plastic to make it more biodegradable. Corn can be used in adhesives. Plastic can have a cornstarch coating.

PROCESSED MEATS (lunchmeats, sausages, hot dogs, etc.): They have to be preserved with *something*; oftentimes, salt…and, to counteract the saltiness, some kind of sugar/sweetener. The casings of sausages and hot dogs may be corny if they contain citric acid and/or a corny salt (these tend to be “natural” casings; collagen casings may be okay). Also, some people will react to the corn that was in the meat animal’s diet.

RICE: Beware “enriched” or “fortified” rices; see “Vitamins” for more information. Cross-contamination can be a concern if the rice is processed on equipment, or in a facility, that processes corn products. Can be dusted with cornstarch to prevent clumping. A starch, typically corn, can be used to polish the rice.

SALAD MIX – BAGGED: May contain citric acid as an anti-bacterial.

SALT: Iodized table salt contains dextrose, which is added to stabilize the iodine compound in the salt. It is rare to find iodized salt in processed foods, although it’s good to check with the manufacturer. If you will be eating someone else’s homebaked goods, it would be worthwhile to ask about the salt they use. Canning/pickling salt is a good alternative. Some sea salts can be okay.

SEASONINGS / SPICES:

SORBITOL: A sweet substance, but not a sugar, that occurs naturally in some stone fruits and berries, and is produced by the breakdown of dextrose. Can cause gastrointestinal distress. Used as a sugar substitute for diabetics, in the manufacture of Vitamin C, in diet foods, mints, cough syrups, sugar-free chewing gum, and some candies. Can also appear in oral hygiene products such as toothpaste and mouthwash, and can be found in cosmetics.

SPICES: Dried spices can be treated with a corny preservative.

SQUASH (all): Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

STARCH; FOOD STARCH; MODIFIED FOOD STARCH: Added starch in foods can come from several sources, but corn seems to be the most common. Unless the type of starch is specified, it’s likely cornstarch is present.

SUCROSE: Usually derived from cane or beet sugar, but I found a reference on a corn-free blog that someone spotted an English candy that included an ingredient of “sucrose (from corn)” — I did a bit of Googling but didn’t find such a candy. When sucrose is an ingredient, it would be worthwhile to check the source of the sucrose (assuming there are no other corn-derived ingredients that would knock the food into the “not safe” category).

SUGAR – BROWN: If the ingredient just says “sugar,” need to determine if it’s cane sugar, beet sugar, or corn sugar. (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/)

SUGAR – GRANULATED: The de-clumping agent is a starch, oftentimes cornstarch but sometimes tapioca is used instead.  If the ingredient just says “sugar,” need to determine if it’s cane sugar, beet sugar, or corn sugar. (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/)

SUGAR – POWDERED: Ordinary table sugar that’s been reduced to a fine powder. Cornstarch is commonly added to prevent caking. A few brands are made with tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, but they can be challenging to find (some are only offered during the holidays). If the ingredient just says “sugar,” need to determine if it’s cane sugar, beet sugar, or corn sugar. (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/)

TANGELOS: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

TANGERINES: Can be coated with a corn-based wax.

TEA (Loose or Bagged): Loose tea can be sprayed with maltodextrin and/or dextrose to be preserved or to enhance inferior teas; may be more of a concern with herbal teas, flavored teas, or inferior plain-leaf teas. (source: “Corn Allergy & Intolerance” Facebook group) The tea bags themselves can be corny.

TOMATOES: Can be gassed with ethylene to ripen them.

TOMATO PRODUCTS – CANNED: Often have citric acid or asorbic acid added to adjust the pH level and to prevent spoiling. As an ingredient of another product, the acid doesn’t have to be labeled because it’s in a minute amount and considered insignificant by the U.S. FDA.

TREACLE: A mixture of molasses and corn syrup; also known as “golden syrup”.

VANILLA (Extract and Pure Vanilla): Typically suspended in a corn-based alcohol. If the alcohol is corn-free, it can contain glycerin which is often corn-derived. Alcohol-free vanilla is often extracted using corn alcohol, then the alcohol is evaporated off leaving behind the corny residue, and then this is added to other liquids, resulting in this product not being corn-free in spite of being alcohol-free. [Can make corn-free vanilla extract by soaking 2 vanilla beans in 1 pint of potato or grape vodka for at least 6 weeks.]

“VEGETABLE”-ANYTHING: Unless you know exactly what the vegetables are, you should be suspicious of any ingredient with “vegetable” in the name, including vegetable oil, vegetable broth, vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and vegetable mono- and di-glycerides.

VEGETABLES: (also refer to the individual veggies) Gases, waxes, washes, and coatings — things to retard spoilage and bacteria — can be corn-derived. For folks who are super sensitive to corn, the fertilizer and pest control can be problematic if they contain corn derivatives. For some individuals, things grown with manure from animals which were fed corn can be problematic, as can fish emulsion. Even organic growers can use fish emulsion, and the emulsion is from farmed fish, which are fed corn (and gluten), so the corn is not only in the fish but also in the water, and, therefore, all over the fish, and the emulsion is sprayed all over the vegetable plants. Soap sprays used on plants can be corny. For some people, veggies grown near corn can create enough of a cross-contamination to cause a reaction.

VEGETABLE OILS:If bottled in plastic, the bottles can be corn-derived. The oils can be rendered corny during refining. (2-21-2012) Need to determine what is used during the extraction process (alcohol or other medium?), and if any defoaming agents are used.

VEGETARIAN RENNET: Most contain caramel color, which can be derived from corn.

VENISON: Corn feeders may be set out prior to the opening of hunting season, to attract deer and to fatten them up. Commercially-processed venison will have the same “corn hurdles” as commercially-processed beef or poultry. The ground venison may contain beef fat, to offset the leanness of the venison.

VINEGARS: It’s common for vinegars to be made from corn. Do not assume all apple cider vinegars are corn-free, as some companies cut their ACV with distilled white vinegar.

VITAMINS (added to foods): Vitamins and enrichments can contain cornstarch or microcrystalline cellulose and similar derivatives to help keep the vitamin mixture smooth and non-clumping and to help the mixture to be distributed more evenly throughout a product. This does not have to be listed as an ingredient because it’s a circumstantial ingredient without nutritional impact.

VITAMIN E (added to foods): Can be derived from corn or soy. (http://cornfreelifestyle.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/quick-post-no-corn-added/)

WATER – BOTTLED: Bottled water can have corn contamination from added vitamins, minerals, or flavorings, from the filtering process, and/or from corn-based PLA plastics.

WATER – TAP: City water has things added to it – chlorine can have corn ingredient carriers, most fluoride does, sometimes buffering agents such as citric acid are added to change pH, coagulants are sometimes added to help aggregate small particles for better filtering, the filtering process can introduce corn, and depending on where the water is drawn from there can be contamination from agricultural runoff – pesticides/herbicides.

WATER SOFTENER SALT: The salt can contain citric acid. Look at the MSDS (the vendor or Google can help you out with that). Plain solar salt may be your best bet for a water softener (but check the MSDS!).

WINE:

XANTHAN GUM: Grown on corn, soy, or wheat. Used as a thickener or emulsion-stabilizer. Can be found in commercially-prepared salad dressings, sauces, frozen foods, beverages, ice cream, egg substitutes, toothpaste, and in gluten-free foods (including homemade gluten-free baked goods). Can also be used as a stabilizer in cosmetics. There is an excellent description of how xanthan gum is made HERE.

YEAST: Nearly all commercial yeast is grown on corn syrup, and it often contains asorbic acid as a stabilizer. Fresh yeast, however, may not have the asorbic acid.

ZEIN: A class of prolamine protein found in maize. It is usually manufactured as a powder from corn gluten meal. It may be labeled as “confectioner’s glaze” or “vegetable protein” (particularly for medications). It can be used as a coating on bakery products and produce; because it’s not water soluable it won’t rinse off produce. It can be used on cartons of doughnuts, crackers, pies, and cookies, because it’s grease-resistant. Other possible food uses: as a chewing gum base; as a rice coating for use in rice-containing premixes in order to make cooking times for all ingredients in the premix more uniform; and as a food coating to reduce fat absorption in high-fat foods. New agricultural uses: as a mulch or fertilizer coating, or as an edible hay bale wrapper. (sources: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2010/12/13/zein-used-for-shellac-biodegradable-coatings-diapers%E2%80%A6/ -and- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zein)

Corn in Medical :

ANTIBIOTICS: Corn is often the growth medium. If corn is not the growth medium, you still need to determine what the inactive ingredients are and from what they’re derived.

BODY BAGS: Can be made from corn. (source: Corn-Free Lifestyle)

COMPOUNDED MEDS: Some things to consider when having medications compounded:

1. Ask your physician to write on the prescription: “corn-free and free of all corn derivatives” — to be as concise as possible and not leave wiggle room for assumption or misinterpretation on the pharmacist’s part.

2.  Not all meds can be compounded. Some cannot be compounded because they are not available in small enough quantities for compounding. If the med your doctor suggests is not available for compounding, see if your physician or pharmacist can suggest a similar medication.

3.  Be sure the pharmacy will use the pure medication, rather than just crushing a pill and referring to that as “compounded”. A crushed pill will very likely contain corny ingredients, and that’s what you’re trying to avoid!

4.  Any compounded med that goes into a body cavity *other than* the mouth (the nose, for example) must have sterility testing performed on it, which can be expensive, plus the chemicals used to protect sterility may be corny. You might want to look for other options.

5.  If a med is water-soluble, you might want to consider having it compounded in just water (no flavoring added), to not have to deal with fillers or capsules. The pharmacist may need to add baking soda to balance the pH. Drawbacks to having a med compounded in just water: (a) the taste might be downright nasty (no flavoring added, remember!); and (b) a liquid compounded med typically has a shorter shelf-life than capsules.

6.  If a med isn’t water-soluble, ask about having it compounded in suppository form — it may be absorbed better, and, for some folks, having a medication bypass the digestive tract makes for a much happier digestive tract! An Avoiding Corn forum member had some meds compounded in suppository form for her corn-allergic kids, using a safe-for-them coconut oil (please note the suppositories would need to be kept in the fridge since coconut oil becomes liquid when not chilled!). If the pharmacist wants to use polyglycol, be aware it can be derived from corn — if you cannot get a clear answer on the source of the polyglycol (“it’s synthetic” is *not* a good answer!) and the pharmacy is insistent on using it anyway, you may wish to reconsider having the med filled in suppository form.

7.  If a capsule is used, what type: gelatin or cellulose? Cellulose can be made from corn, although it isn’t always — ask the pharmacist to find out. For both types of capsules, sometimes cornstarch is used to prevent capsules from sticking to each other. Be sure the capsule does not contain a dye. Each time you have a prescription compounded using capsules, confirm the source of the capsule because it may not be the same source as the time before. If you have problems swallowing capsules, or if you’re concerned about the corn-safeness of the capsule used, it may be possible to dump the capsule ingredients into some applesauce or to dump it straight on your tongue and chase with water — be sure to ask your pharmacist if there would be a concern with doing this with the particular medication you’re having compounded.

8.  For capsules, ask the compounding pharmacist what they use as a filler. “It’s synthetic” is not a good enough answer — from what raw ingredient is it derived? Consider providing your own proven-safe starch to be used as a filler (tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, or potato starch would work).

9.  What type of gloves does the pharmacist or pharmacy tech use to prepare the med, and are they powder-free?

10.  Is the pill bottle made of plant-based plastic?

11.  If you have insurance that covers your prescriptions, ask if your pharmacist will run different scenarios through the insurance to see how many capsules you could get for the same price.

If you’re not having luck locating a compounding pharmacist, you can use the search feature on the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists’ website.

Don’t forget to take any other allergens you have into consideration when having medications compounded! Be sure the starch you use as a filler for capsules is safe for you; be sure the capsules themselves are safe for you (folks who are sensitive to MSG should confirm the safeness of gelatin capsules); if you’re having a suppository made, be sure the oil used is safe for you; etc.

CT SCAN CONTRAST: The contrast solution, if flavored, will probably contain corn derivatives. Look for a contrast with the least amount of ingredients possible (will probably be unflavored), to be mixed in plain water. Ingredients should also be checked for IV contrasts.

DENTAL VISITS: Dental visit considerations for the corn-allergic include:

1.  Take your own cloth napkins or cloth hand towels to be used as the “bib”, and also to be used for blotting up or wiping away anything that gets on your mouth or face.

2a.  Take your own safe-for-you water for swishing / rinsing and your own cup.

2b.  You might also inquire about the water used *during* the cleaning or whatever procedure you’re having done (the water that comes through the hose and is squirted directly into your mouth). Is it tap water? Is it filtered in-house? Is a water softener used; if so, what kind of softener salt is used? Is a cleanser of some sort used to clean the hose and sanitize the line?

3.  Take your own safe-for-you toothpaste or tooth powder.

4.  Take your own safe-for-you floss.

5.  Ask them to use an unflavored dental pumice, or take a safe clay with you to be used during the polishing process, or skip the polishing process entirely.

6.  Be sure a clear liquid being handed to you to swish in your mouth is water, not clear mouthwash!

7.  Opt out of the fluoride treatment.

8.  Opt out of the dye used to show plaque.

9.  Ask what kind of gloves are used and if they are powdered. If the gloves normally used will be problematic for you, ask if they have other gloves or if you can bring safe-for-you gloves for them to use.

10.  Ask if they can use regular soap to wash their hands, rather than alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

11.  If their medical masks are dusted with cornstarch, you want to be sure they don’t touch their mask (to adjust it, for example) and then touch your mouth.

12.  If x-rays are necessary, ask if the film and film holders can be rinsed before being put into your mouth. (If they or their packaging were dusted with cornstarch, having them rinsed first might eliminate, or at least reduce, a reaction from the cornstarch.)

13.  If you’re reactive to fumes, ask for the first appointment of the day to lessen your risk of exposure to the fumes of other patients’ perfume, cologne, hair products, deodorant, cigarettes, etc. Find out if there’s a hygienist who doesn’t wear perfume/cologne and hair products (or who would be willing to wait to use them until after your appointment), who doesn’t smoke, and who would be willing to wait to apply their deodorant until after your appointment. Find out if the office is cleaned the night before (allowing the fumes to dissipate overnight) or in the morning before the office opens (could be rather fume-y still). An early-morning appointment reduces the risk of being exposed to food fumes, particularly microwave popcorn.

14.  If you’re contact sensitive, be sure to wear long pants and long sleeves, to avoid residue on the chairs from other patients’ body moisturizer and/or from any disinfectant used to clean the chairs.

15.  Topical numbing agents are corny; consider having the numbing injection *without* having a topical numbing agent applied first.

16.  Ask what is used for the numbing injection. Septocaine and Carbocaine *may* work for you; check ingredients, particularly if you have other allergies or sensitivities!

17.  If an IV will be necessary, don’t forget to request a Saline IV.

18.  If pain meds will be needed, be sure to have them compounded *before* your dental visit.

19.  If you’ve been asked to take antibiotics before and after a treatment, do the legwork to see if you can get a compounded antibiotic . . . or at least one with no corn-derived inactive ingredients . . . or if maybe an antibiotic can be given in injection form less often than oral antibiotics would need to be taken.

20.  Dissolvable stitches can be corny.

Ingredient changes can render a previously corn-free product, corny — always, ALWAYS, check ingredients before using a product or medication. This is especially true if you have other allergies or sensitivities (for example, Squigle-brand toothpaste is not a good choice for folks with birch allergy).

NON-MEDICINAL INGREDIENTS: Go HERE to read an excellent article about corn derivatives used in non-medicinal ingredients. The article was in the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia’s May/June 2007 newsletter; it may be an older newsletter, but the information is still extremely applicable!

SYNTHETIC INGREDIENTS: If you are attempting to determine the source of an ingredient and are told it’s “synthetic,” don’t let that be the end of the line in your questioning or you will be taking a risk that your medication might contain a corny ingredient. See if you can find out which raw ingredients are used in the chemical process that creates the synthetic ingredient.

TONGUE DEPRESSORS: Can be made from corn. (source: Corn-Free Lifestyle)

Corn in regular products :

ART SUPPLIES: Especially those geared towards kids, can contain corn-based ingredients, as these are generally considered to be a low allergy-risk (ha!) and non-toxic, as compared to petroleum-based ingredients. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

BALLOONS: Can contain a dusting of cornstarch inside to keep the balloon from sticking to itself. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

BEACH BALLS: Can contain a dusting of cornstarch inside to keep the ball from sticking to itself. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

CARDBOARD: Many corrugated cardboards contain corn in some form or fashion. Keep in mind things like kids’ playhouses can sometimes include, or be made entirely of, corrugated cardboard. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

CHARCOAL: Stick with the lump (or wood-piece) charcoal. The briquettes have corn and/or wheat starch in them to bind them into a uniform shape. The lump (or wood-piece) charcoal is wood and leaves less ash.

CLOTHING / FABRIC: If a piece of clothing is touted as being eco-friendly or hypoallergenic or all-natural, that fabric could contain corn. Corn fabric is also being integrated into mattresses, bedding, towels, carpets, upholstery and yarn. Even if your fabric is certified as being 100% organic cotton, it may have been washed in a corny detergent. Clothing (new *and* secondhand) may have been sprayed with a anti-wrinkle agent containing cornstarch.

DE-ICER: “Eco-friendly” products can be a corn-based solution. (source: Corn-Free Lifestyle)

FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS: Can contain cornstarch.**These can be extremely problematic, especially for women who are contact-sensitive.**

HOT PACKS: Can contain corn kernels as the filler. If you receive a handmade microwave heating bag as a gift, be sure to inquire as to what comprises the filling.

ISOSORBIDE: This is a corn-based additive for plastics that is being touted as being a safe, renewable alternative to BPA. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

MODELING COMPOUNDS: These things (think, play-doughs and putties) can contain cornstarch. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

NURSING PADS: Lining of “eco-friendly” brand(s) may be made from corn. (source: Corn-Free Lifestyle)

ORGANIC FERTILIZER: Feathermeal is made from poultry feathers and can contain MSG (which can be derived from corn). Feathermeal can be found in animal feed and organic fertilizer; chard and spinach are often grown in it.

PAPER – ARTS & CRAFTS: Can contain corn-silk fibers. (source: Corn-Free Lifestyle)

PLASTIC: Corn can be chemically-inserted into plastic to make it more biodegradable. Corn can be used in adhesives. Plastic can have a cornstarch coating.

PLASTIC – SOFT, MALLEABLE: Can be coated with corn oil or cornstarch to help prevent cracking. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

PRINTER’S INK: Can be made from corn. (source: Corn-Free Lifestyle)

SOIL AMENDMENTS: Can be derived from cornstarch (ex: Zeba, which can be used on food crops). (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

STUFFED ANIMALS / SOFT TOYS: The stuffing can be corny, as can the cloth of the toys. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

SWIM FLOATIES/RINGS/FLOATS: Can contain a dusting of cornstarch inside to keep the item from sticking to itself. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

TATTOOS: The base the inks are mixed with are often corn-based. Find a tattoo artist who is willing to make your ink with a base that is not sourced from corn. (“Corn Allergy & Intolerance” Facebook group)

TOILET PAPER: Can contain / be dusted with cornstarch. The adhesive at the beginning and ending of a roll can be “corny.”

TONER CARTRIDGES: “Eco-friendly” toner may be made with oils from corn, soy, and cotton seed. (source: Corn-Free Lifestyle)

VINYL – SOFT, MALLEABLE: Can be coated with corn oil or cornstarch to help prevent cracking. (source: News for Corn Avoiders)

YARN:

ZEIN: Can be found as the water-insoluble coating on paper plates, paper cups, and cardboard cartons (ex: milk and juice containers). Can be extruded and rolled into a variety of plastic products. Could be used as a coating on disposable diapers, bed sheets, or tablecloths.May be used for soda bottles, plastic bags, foam cups, etc. New agricultural uses: as a mulch or fertilizer coating, or as an edible hay bale wrapper. New biomedical uses: as a component in tissue scaffolding needed for skin and bone regeneration. (one of my sources: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2010/12/13/zein-used-for-shellac-biodegradable-coatings-diapers%E2%80%A6/)

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