Are eggs a dairy product?
Many people often wonder if eggs are a dairy product because they are typically shelved next to known dairy products like milk, yogurt, and sour cream. It is easy to associate eggs with dairy based on their similar store location of the dairy section. Additionally, when we think of the production of both eggs and dairy many of us probably think of a farm with an animal (often cow and chicken) producing the product. Both eggs and dairy (milk) are derived from an animal. But, are eggs a dairy product?
While eggs might seem like they should be a dairy product, they actually are not considered dairy. A dairy product must be derived from milk. This does not mean just cow’s milk but any milk produced by a mammal. Some of these animals might include sheep, goats, buffaloes, and camels.
Eggs we find in the dairy section typically come from chickens. Yes, the egg is a byproduct of an animal, however, it is not derived from milk so it cannot be considered dairy.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies foods into five groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Eggs are classified in the protein foods group, which is separate from the dairy group. Per the USDA, “All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group.”