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What is a soy allergy?

A soy allergy is an abnormal response of the body to the proteins found in soy.

Soybeans are a legume. Other foods in the legume family include navy, kidney, string, black, and pinto beans, plus chickpeas, lentils, carob, licorice, and peanuts.

  • Sensitivity to peanuts is most common, but soybean sensitivity is also prevalent.
  • Children are often sensitive to more than one legume.

Which foods and ingredients must a soy-allergic person watch out for?

Avoid foods with any of the following ingredients:

  • hydrolyzed soy protein
  • miso
  • shoyo sauce
  • soy flour
  • soy grits
  • soy nuts
  • soy milk
  • soy sprouts
  • soy protein concentrate
  • soy protein isolate
  • soy sauce
  • tempeh
  • textured vegetable protein
  • tofu

Other possible sources of soy or soy products include:

  • flavorings
  • hydrolyzed plant protein
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • natural flavoring
  • vegetable broth
  • vegetable gum
  • vegetable starch

The following table gives guidelines about which foods are generally safe, and which should be avoided.

Foods Allowed Not Allowed
Breads & Starches

Breads, baked goods, cereals not containing soy ingredients

Potato chips or popcorn cooked in soy oil

Plain macaroni, rice, barley, rye, wheat, oats, or grains

Breads, crackers, cakes, rolls, or pastries containing peanuts, peanut oil, soy flour

Processed and "natural" cereals which contain soy ingredients

Soy pasta
Vegetables Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables (except those listed as not allowed) without sauces or breading containing soy ingredients

Soy beans, soybean sprouts

Any vegetables prepared with sauces or breading containing soy products
Fruit All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and juices processed without soy products Fruit drink mixed or sauces/toppings for fruit which contain soy ingredients

Soft drinks

Tea, coffee

Fruit juice
Soy-based formulas, coffee substitutes with soy, instant coffee, hot cocoa mixed, malt beverages, fruit drink mixes made with soy ingredients
Meat & meat substitutes Any fresh or frozen beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, veal, or fish served without prepackaged sauces, breading, or gravy

Pork link sausage, deli/luncheon meats made with soy

Commercially prepared meats where soy is used as a meat extender

Meat or cheese substitutes which contain soy: tofu/bean curd, natto, miso

Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Milk & milk products Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt without soy products Milk drinks or milk substitutes that contain soy
Soups & combination foods Homemade soups and commercial soups that do not contain soybeans Soy is used in many canned soups, commercial entrees, and combination foods
Desserts & sweets Ice cream, gelatin, cookies made without soy ingredients

Baked goods, such as cakes or cookies which contain soy flour

Soy products may be used in some commercial ice creams and other frozen desserts

Hard candies, nut candies, fudge, and caramels made with soy flour
Fats & oils Butter, margarines, shortening

Margarine and butter substitutes

Some salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces, or gravies containing soy products

Roasted soybeans or "soy nuts"
Condiments & Miscellaneous Sugar, honey, molasses, catsup, mustard, jelly, jam, plain sugar candies, syrup, pickles

Commercial vegetarian products and meat substitutes

Heinz® Worcestershire sauce, Lea & Perrins® sauce, fermented soybean pastes (miso and natto)

Soy sauce, tamari sauce, granola, or breakfast bars made with soy

Imitation bacon bits made with soy

Soy Allergy | Programs & Services