Soybeans are listed as a priority allergen in Canada. This page focuses on available resources and special considerations related to soybean allergy.

On this page:Statistics and facts on soy allergy >
Soybeans Reference Guide >
    Terms that may indicate the presence of soybeans
    Foods that are possible sources of soybeans
    Potential sources of soybeans in commonly used products
    Soybean replacements and cooking without soybean
Helpful resources >

Facts about soy allergy

  • Soy allergy affects 0.1% of Canadians[i].
  • Soy allergy tends to be outgrown with time. A study published in 2010 showed that 50% of participants developed soy tolerance at age 7 and 69% at age 10[ii].
  • Nearly 30 allergenic soy proteins capable of binding specifically to IgE antibodies produced in allergic people have been identified [iii]. Of these soy proteins, only a few are considered major allergens.These include Gly m Bd 60K, Gly m Bd 30K, and Gly m Bd 28K[iv].
  • Soybeans are one of the common triggers of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)(in French), a non-IgE-mediated allergic reaction characterized by repeated projectile vomiting and a lethargic state[v].
  • Exposure to soybean dust, for example around processing plant, is associated with increased respiratory symptoms in sensitized individuals [vi]. In 1985-1986, 13 waves of increased asthma attacks associated with soybean dust in the air were observed in Barcelona[vii].
  • Highly refined soybean oil is considered safe for soy-allergic individuals as the refining process essentially removes the allergenic portion of soy. [viii]. Despite the low risk of reaction to refined soybean oil, Allergy Quebec recommends that the allergic person consult his allergist in order to assess he or she’s specific risk.


REFERENCE GUIDE Soybeans, in PDF (0,5 Mo) (in French)

Terms that may indicate the presence of soy (non-exhaustive list)
EdamameGlucine maxHydrolyzed soybean vegetable proteins
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Proteins (HVP)KinakoKouridofu / kori-dofu
Soy milk beverageMisoMonodiglyceride
SoyaSoja hispidaSoy protein
Soy protein isolateSoy sauceSoya lecithin
Soybean albuminSoybean curdSoybean flour
Soybean germSoybean oilSoybeans
Sprouted beansTamariTempeh
Textured Vegetable Proteins (TVP)TofuVegetable lecithin
Vegetable soy proteinsYuba 
Health Canada’s food allergen labelling regulations established in 2012 prohibit use of the following terms. Manufacturers must declare the presence of soybeans in the list of ingredients either on the label of their product or in the words “Contains”. However, it is important to keep those terms in mind when travelling, as regulations vary from one country to another. In some cases, it may also be useful to know them when we are offered artisanal or homemade products.
Foods that are likely sources of soy (non-exhaustive list)
BreadcrumbsBreaded foodsCereals
ChocolateCommercial sauce basesDairy substitutes
Imitation fishInfant formulasLecithin
MargarineMeal substitutesMeat lengthener
Mexican cuisineNutritional additivesSauces (hoisin, teriyaki)
SurimiVegetarian dishes 
Foods that are potential sources of soy (non-exhaustive list)
Baked productsBeverage mixes (e. g. hot chocolate, lemonade)Biscuits / cookies
BreadBreakfast and baby cerealsCanned fish (in a broth)
Chewing gumChips and crispsColour (may contain soy lecithin)
Commercial vegetable brothsConsomméCrackers
Dipping saucesEmulsifier (where not specified)Flavoring agents
Ground cornIce creamImitation bacon
Monosodium glutamatePastry MixesProcessed and prepared meats
Sauces and soupsSeasoning or herbal mixesSeasonings
SeitanSnack foodsSpreads
Stabilizer (where not specified)Thickening agentVegetable oil (where not specified)
Vegetable oil shorteningVegetable PâtéVegetable starch
Possible sources of soy in commonly used products (non-exhaustive list)
Pet FoodsHandmade productsSoaps
GlycerinBeauty productsVitamins
Milk substitute for young animals  
Note: To find out if commonly used products contain soybeans, it is important to read the labels and contact the manufacturer. Food allergen labelling regulations apply only to packaged foods, they do not apply to non-food products.
Soybean replacements and cooking without soybean
  • Soy-free bread, baked goods, and cereals.
  • Rice, barley, rye, wheat, oatmeal, and cornmeal.
  • Cow’s milk, cheese, yoghurt or other milk, and vegetable products (rice milk, coconut milk).

Resources for people with soy allergy

[i] Soller, S. et coll. (2015). Adjusting for nonresponse bias corrects overestimates of food allergy prevalence. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 3(2), 291-293. DOI 10.1016/j.jaip.2014.11.006
[ii] Savage, J. H. et coll. (2010). The natural history of soy allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 125(3):683-686. DOI : 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.12.994
[iii] Kattan, J. D. et coll. (2011). Milk and soy allergy. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 58(2):407-426. DOI 10.1016/j.pcl.2011.02.005
[iv] Wu, Y.-M. et coll. (2012). Synthesis and degradation of the major allergens in developing and germinating soybean seed. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 54(1):4-14. DOI 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01092.x
[v] Kattan, J. D. et coll. (2011). Milk and soy allergy. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 58(2):407-426. DOI 10.1016/j.pcl.2011.02.005
[vi] Heederic, D. et coll. 2014). Daily changes of peek expiratory flow and respiratory symptoms occurrence around a soy processing factory. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 21(1):5-10. Repéré à
[vii] Antò, J. M. et coll. (1989). Community outbreaks of asthma associated with inhalation of soybean dust. The New England Journal of Medicine, 320(17):1097-1102 DOI 10.1056/NEJM198904273201701
[viii] Taylor, S. L. et coll. (2004). Soybean oil is not allergenic to soybean-allergenic individuals. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 113(2, supplement):S99. DOI 10.1016/j.jaci.2003.12.34