Allergy Resources

Beef Allergy

Key Allergens

There are 12 allergens associated with cows, 4 of them relate to an allergy to consumption of meat (rather than to the milk they produce).

Serum albumin proteins are responsible for allergic reactions to mammalian meat in general, if allergic to many types of red meat then you may have Alpa-gal Syndrome.

If sensitised to Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) only, then you may have issues with eating beef and drinking cow's milk.


A more recent and commonly known syndrome associated with beef allergy is Alpha-gal syndrome. This is when a person is bitten by a tick. The tick passes on a carbohydrate called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (also known as alpha-gal). This carbohydrate causes an immune reaction to make IgE antibodies. This is an unusual syndrome as it is caused by a carbohydrate and not a protein and because it often causes delayed IgE allergic reactions unlike classic IgE reactions which are very quick.

Cross Reactivity

In extreme cases there may be some cross reactivity between other foods containing serum albumin proteins. These foods include other meats such as pork and chicken.

This is also the case for Alpha-gal Syndrome, other mammalian and bird meats containing serum albumin may cause delayed IgE reactions.

About 10% of cow's milk allergy sufferers will also react to beef when consumed.

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