Purpose of review
This review summarizes the scientific evidence on meat allergy
, an unusual disorder, whose prevalence in some European countries (such as Italy) may be increasing.
Data reported in this review underline some interesting points: in meats rarely consumed, such as kangaroo, whale and seal, the main allergens are only partially correlated to those detected in beef or other usually consumed meats; cross-reactivity
are critical aspects, which should be seriously considered by allergologists.
Summary Meat allergy
is normally outgrown during the first years of life, so that it is rare in adults. Beef among mammals and chicken among birds are most frequently involved. The major allergens are serum albumins
, but there are a few reports of allergies to muscle proteins (actin, myosin and tropomyosin). As meat allergenicity can be reduced by various treatments (heat, homogenization and freeze-drying), the consumption of meat derivatives by children allergic to meat proteins is often permitted. Cross-reactivity
has been described between different meats, between meat and milk or eggs and between meat and animal dander. There are some reports of cross-contamination
associated with the inadequate cleaning of industrial or butchers' equipment. All these aspects may have serious implications for clinical practice.