Category: 

Are Eggs Considered a Dairy Product?

Baby chick and an egg.
Carton of a dozen eggs.
Dairy products and eggs.
Dairy products come from milk-bearing animals.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
The US Post Office uses a mail boat to deliver to other ships on the Detroit River, and it has its own zip code: 48222.  more...

November 27 ,  1978 :  Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were murdered.  more...

The short answer to this question is no. A dairy product is a food which comes from a milk-bearing animal, such as butter, milk, cream, or cheese. Eggs, on the other hand, do not come from cows, so they are not, in fact, considered a dairy product. More properly, eggs could be termed an animal byproduct, meaning that they are the product of an animal, and the animal did not have to be slaughtered to collect them. Eggs and dairy have entirely different physical and chemical compositions which further distinguish them.

Eggs and dairy are often linked together in the eyes of the public, for a variety of reasons. Both are animal products, typically coming from farms, and in communities where dairy delivery is available, eggs can typically be ordered as well. Eggs and dairy are also typically shelved near each other in the supermarket, because both require refrigeration, and it makes sense to build refrigerating units together, from an efficiency standpoint.

A dairy product can come from mammals like cows, goats, sheep, horses, yaks, llamas, camels, or other animals which produce milk. The precise chemical composition of a dairy item varies, depending on the animal it comes from, which explains why some people who have trouble digesting cow's milk can drink less rich milks, like sheep or goat milks. Animals which produce milk cannot produce eggs (with the exception of monotremes like the platypus).

Ad

Eggs, on the other hand, come from avians like chickens, ducks, and geese, among others. Again, with the exception of the monotremes, an animal which lays eggs cannot produce milk, so classifying eggs and dairy products together would be rather inappropriate. Eggs also have a markedly different composition from dairy; someone can eat eggs if he or she is allergic to dairy, and someone who is allergic to eggs can consume dairy items.

The link between eggs and dairy may also be related to the fact that the two are often used together in recipes, and to the fact that strict vegetarians avoid both, out of concern for animal welfare. Rarely, some people use the term “dairy” to refer to all animal byproducts, rather than specifically to milk product, in which case eggs would technically be considered a dairy product, but this definition for dairy products is extremely unusual.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Kristee
Post 14

I think it's strange that eggs are stored in the dairy section of the supermarket, even though they are not dairy products. It's not just because the section is refrigerated, because there are other sections of the store with refrigerators where the eggs could be stored.

I don't know what the reasoning is, unless it has to do with both coming from a farm. Maybe since eggs, butter, milk, and cheese all come from farm animals, they get to hang out together on the refrigerator shelves.

My husband works in a food distribution center in the dairy department, and he has to live hundreds of crates of eggs a day. He also moves milk, cream, and butter.

OeKc05
Post 13

@feasting – I use a mixture of milk and eggs when I make fried chicken. I dip the chicken tenders in an egg and some milk in a bowl that I have whisked together, and then I dip them in seasoned flour.

The egg and milk are really gooey, so they make the flour cling to the chicken. I usually dip the chicken in both twice to get a good, thick coating.

feasting
Post 12

I never thought of eggs as a dairy product. I associate both eggs and milk with breakfast, but I've never lumped them into the same group.

I mix a little bit of milk with my eggs before scrambling them. I melt some butter in a skillet and stir the egg-milk mixture in it until it becomes solid. I season the eggs with salt and pepper, and they taste richer and yummier than they do without the help of the milk and butter.

So, I guess eggs benefit from the aid of dairy products, even though they are unrelated. Does anyone else here mix eggs with dairy for a recipe?

burcidi
Post 11

@ddljohn-- Actually most vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy. Stricter vegetarians are more inclined to avoid eggs than avoid milk. I think vegans are the ones that tend to avoid both of these.

I know about this because my family is from India and they are all vegetarian. Most Indians are Hindu and follow a strict vegetarian diet. But eggs, milk and milk products make up an important part of our diet. So there is no reason to think that vegetarians don't eat these foods and absolutely no reason to think that eggs are dairy.

literally45
Post 10

@ddljohn-- No, eggs and dairy are not grouped together on the food pyramid. Eggs are grouped with other protein rich foods like meat, beans and nuts. Dairy has it's own group and includes milk, cheese and yogurt.

I wonder if one reason people think that eggs is dairy is because both eggs and dairy products have similar nutrients. Because they are both rich in protein (although eggs have much more) and they both have calcium.

ddljohn
Post 9

I thought that eggs were a dairy product until I read this article. I think I also got this idea from the fact that vegetarians don't eat eggs or dairy.

And aren't eggs and dairy categorized in the same group in the food pyramid?

John57
Post 8

I have a friend who is a strict vegetarian and does not eat meat or any dairy products. The best way she described it to me is that she doesn't eat anything that had a mother.

I love meat and dairy products and can't imagine not eating them, and often wonder what she lives on. Our favorite meal on the weekend is a breakfast that includes eggs and bacon. There are many foods that I could probably not eat as much of, but I don't think I could ever totally eliminate them.

For people who are allergic to dairy products I understand why they can't have them, but I would especially miss eating ice cream.

honeybees
Post 7

I am lactose intolerant so have had to give up the dairy products that I used to love. I think I miss eating cheese more than anything. I have found that almond milk and coconut milk are great substitutes for regular milk. In fact, I have come to enjoy these even more than regular milk, but I have yet to find anything that tastes as good as melted cheese.

Mykol
Post 6

We have a large dairy in our hometown that makes the best dairy products I have ever tasted. I wouldn't think of buying another brand of yogurt, cottage cheese or milk when I have the choice to buy this brand.

They have the best chocolate milk I have ever tasted and it is made with European chocolate. You feel like you are really treating yourself, and it tastes great either cold or warmed up as hot chocolate.

Once when my son was young I bought a different brand of chocolate milk that was cheaper, and he could tell a difference right away. I don't know what this dairy does differently for their products to taste so good, but they have a lot of loyal customers.

SarahSon
Post 5

I realize that eggs and dairy products are both animal products, but never really thought about linking them together. I like to buy farm fresh eggs from a neighbor who lives close by. When I stop to pick up my eggs, I can see her chickens and know they are able to wander around. I feel a lot better about buying eggs from someone I know than from a big supermarket.

anon168480
Post 4

@Calpat: I understand that most people that are allergic to chicken eggs are able to eat duck eggs. Ever heard this or tried it?

calpat
Post 3

How interesting! I never thought of the link between dairy and eggs before. I definitely never thought of an egg being considered a dairy product, but I can see how the connection could be made.

Eggs and dairy do go hand in hand quite a bit. I'm glad they aren't the same, however. I am allergic to eggs, and I love milk. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't have my daily glass of milk!

latte31
Post 2

My favorite dairy product is cream that I use for my coffee.

I sometimes buy regular cream and other times I will buy the non dairy creamer because I love the variety of the flavors.

A company by the name of Dean Foods which works in the dairy product processing market makes many private label dairy products for supermarkets across the country.

I sometimes buy the private label brands because they are so much cheaper than the regular brands.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email