Why are Eggs not Labeled as Dairy?

Why are Eggs not Labeled as Dairy?
9 min reading time

Have you ever wondered why are eggs not labeled as dairy? The confusion surrounding this labeling distinction is a common misconception we will address in this article. We will explore why eggs are not considered dairy and debunk any myths or misunderstandings surrounding this topic.

Food labeling can be confusing, particularly when understanding the categorization of food products. Some people assume that because eggs come from a farm animal, they are classified as dairy. However, this is a misconception that we will address in detail. Through this article, we aim to clear up any confusion surrounding the labeling of eggs and dairy and provide a better understanding of the nutritional and culinary differences between the two.

Join us in this journey as we explore the fascinating world of food classification and discover why eggs are not labeled as dairy.

What Defines a Dairy Product?

While it may seem intuitive to some that eggs are a dairy product, they are not. To fully understand why, we must first establish what defines a dairy product. Generally, dairy products are derived from mammal milk or cream, such as cows, goats, and sheep. Some common dairy products include milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter.

Milk is perhaps the most well-known dairy product and forms the basis for many others. It contains nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Cheese is made from milk and often contains more fat and calories than milk. Yogurt, another milk-based product, is created by fermenting milk with bacteria. It is often consumed for its probiotic benefits. Butter, typically made from milk or cream, is used in cooking and baking and contains high levels of saturated fat.

While these products share a common source in milk or cream, eggs do not fit the definition. Eggs come from chickens and are classified as an animal product rather than a dairy product. They have their own distinct nutritional composition and culinary uses.

The Nutritional Composition of Dairy vs. Eggs

One of the primary differences between eggs and dairy products is their nutritional composition. Dairy products are a source of calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. They also contain varying amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Eggs, on the other hand, are higher in protein and fat than most dairy products. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D and choline.

Culinary Uses of Dairy vs. Eggs

Why are Eggs not Labeled as Dairy

Another key distinction between eggs and dairy products is their culinary uses. While dairy products are often consumed independently, eggs are commonly used as an ingredient in cooking and baking. They can be used to make everything from omelets to cakes to custards. Dairy products like cheese and butter are also used in cooking and baking but are typically added for flavor and texture rather than as a primary ingredient.

In conclusion, while eggs and dairy products share some similarities, they are distinct food categories with their own unique characteristics. By understanding what defines a dairy product, we can better appreciate the differences and make informed choices about our food consumption.

The Distinction between Eggs and Dairy

When it comes to food categorization, there is often confusion between eggs and dairy. While both come from animals, they have distinct nutritional compositions and usage in culinary applications.

Eggs are considered animal products and are often grouped with meat and poultry. They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. In contrast, dairy products are derived from milk, including cheese, yogurt, and butter.

Dairy products are known for their high calcium content and are often recommended for promoting healthy bone development. However, they also contain lactose, a sugar that many people are intolerant to, and saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol levels in some individuals.

Regarding cooking and baking, eggs and dairy products differ significantly in their functions. Eggs are often a binding agent in recipes, while dairy products provide moisture and richness. For example, in cake recipes, eggs help to provide structure and bind the ingredients together, while milk and butter are used to give moisture and flavor.

In conclusion, while eggs and dairy products come from animals, they have distinct nutritional compositions and culinary uses. Understanding this distinction is essential for making informed choices about our food consumption.

Regulatory Standards and Labeling Laws

Regarding food labeling, regulatory standards play a crucial role in determining how products are classified and marketed. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are the most prominent agencies responsible for this task.

The FDA oversees food labeling for most products, including eggs, which fall under their jurisdiction. Under FDA regulations, eggs are not classified as dairy products but rather as a separate category of animal products.

“The term ‘dairy’ means any product of a cow, goat, or sheep, that is produced by the secretion of milk. Since eggs are produced differently and do not contain milk, they are not classified as dairy products,”

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

While the USDA does not specifically regulate egg labeling, they oversee standards for other animal products, including dairy. Their regulatory standards for dairy products require that they contain milk or milk-derived ingredients, which, as we’ve established, eggs do not.

It’s also worth noting that food labeling laws can vary from country to country. In some nations, eggs may be classified as dairy products, while in others, they may be subject to different rules and regulations.

Misconceptions about Eggs and Dairy

Many misconceptions surround the relationship between eggs and dairy, leading to confusion about their nutritional composition and categorization. Let’s examine some of the most common misconceptions and clarify the facts.

“Eggs are dairy because they come from animals.”

This is a common misconception, but eggs are not dairy products. While eggs and dairy come from animals, they differ in nutritional composition and are classified separately. Dairy products come from the mammary glands of mammals, while eggs come from hens.

“Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol.”

While eggs do contain cholesterol, they also contain many essential nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet. The American Heart Association states that cholesterol in food has a relatively small impact on blood cholesterol levels for most people. However, those with high blood cholesterol or heart disease may need to limit their egg consumption.

“If you’re lactose intolerant, you can’t eat eggs.”

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar in milk and dairy products. Eggs do not contain lactose, so they are safe for those with lactose intolerance to consume. However, some people may have an egg allergy, which differs from lactose intolerance and can cause severe reactions.

By debunking these common misconceptions, we can understand the true nature of eggs and dairy and make informed choices about our food consumption.

Nutritional Value and Culinary Uses of Eggs and Dairy

Both eggs and dairy can be considered nutritional powerhouses with many health benefits. Eggs are a rich source of protein and healthy fats, making them an excellent addition to any diet. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, choline, and selenium.

Dairy products, which include milk, cheese, and yogurt, are also packed with nutrients. They are an excellent source of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, essential for maintaining strong bones and healthy blood pressure levels.

When it comes to culinary uses, both eggs and dairy are incredibly versatile. Eggs can be cooked in various ways, from scrambled to boiled to poached. They can also be used as a binding agent in baked goods, such as cakes and cookies.

On the other hand, dairy can be used in a wide range of recipes, from savory dishes like mac and cheese to sweet treats like ice cream. It can also add richness and creaminess to sauces and soups.

While there are similarities between the nutritional value and culinary uses of eggs and dairy, distinct differences set them apart. For example, eggs are an excellent source of protein, while most dairy products contain little to no protein. Additionally, dairy products tend to be higher in fat and calories than eggs.

Eggs vs. Dairy: A Nutritional Comparison

To better understand the differences in nutritional value between eggs and dairy, let’s take a closer look at their macronutrient composition:

 Egg (1 large)Whole Milk (1 cup)Cheddar Cheese (1 oz)
Protein (g)687
Fat (g)589
Carbohydrates (g)0121

As we can see from the table above, eggs are lower in calories and fat than both whole milk and cheddar cheese. However, they are also lower in calcium and vitamin D, two essential nutrients in dairy products.

Ultimately, both eggs and dairy products can be incorporated into a healthy and balanced diet. Whether you prefer to start your day with a hearty omelet or end it with a scoop of ice cream, there are countless ways to enjoy the nutritional and culinary benefits of these two food categories.


Through our exploration of the labeling of eggs and dairy products, we have uncovered the reasons behind the distinction between these two food categories. While eggs come from animals, like dairy products, they possess different nutritional compositions and uses in cooking and baking.

Regulatory standards established by governmental bodies like the FDA and USDA dictate how food products must be labeled. These standards inform consumer understanding of the products’ contents and nutritional makeup.

Despite common misconceptions, eggs are not dairy products. Eggs do not contain lactose, which is a defining characteristic of dairy. Additionally, while eggs contain cholesterol, they are different than those found in dairy products.

Eggs and dairy products have unique nutritional values and culinary uses. Eggs are vital in many baked goods, while dairy products like milk and cheese are foundational in many cultural dishes worldwide. By understanding the differences between eggs and dairy, we can make informed decisions about how we consume food and lead healthier lifestyles.

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