Allergy-Free Eggs Created at Hiroshima University
Researchers from Hiroshima University have engineered a chicken egg with the potential to be a healthy substitute for those with egg white allergies. This modified egg, called “OVM-Knockout”, has been created using genome editing technology to avoid the protein responsible for the allergy, ovomucoid, resulting in an allergy-reduced egg. The team has already determined OVM-knockout eggs to be safe in heat-processed foods but are conducting further studies to ensure safety standards are met.
Egg allergies are the second most common food allergy among children worldwide, affecting nearly 1% of kids under 14. Over the past few decades there has been a rise in all food-related allergies, with the CDC estimating an increase of over 30% between the years 1997 to 2011. The upward trend has continued matched by a significant surge in allergen-free food and drink alternatives like soy milk and sesame butter. With products like the OVM-Knockout egg there is more potential than ever to suit the increase in consumer needs —and a step toward, possibly one day in the not-so-distant future, elimination of the most common of allergens in foods.