Chicken are in the Phasianidae
family of animals. Other animals in this family include pheasants, quail, turkey, peacocks and a variety of other game birds.
The main protein associated with eating poultry is chicken serum albumin (which is identical to alpha livetin found in egg yolk). This is also known as Gal d 5.
This is a partially heat-labile allergen (partially damaged by heat); Small studies have shown that IgE reactivity to Chicken albumin was reduced by 88% after heating at 90 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.
The alpha livetin protein is partially heat labile, so some sufferers will only get reactions from raw chicken and others may get reactions depending on how high a temperature the meat was cooked at and how long for.
There is anecdotal evidence that people may be unable to eat cooked fresh chicken without having allergic symptoms but are able to eat chicken which has been fully frozen before being thawed, cooked, and eaten. This can be explained by a protein shape change caused by freezing or by cooking for an extended period, essentially damaging the protein so it cannot cause a reaction.
Gal d 8 is a alpha-parvalbumin protein, these proteins are also frequently found in fish. They are very stable proteins, so able to cause reactions when cooked or as vapour during cooking.
Gal d 9 is an enolase protein and Gal d 10 an aldolase protein
. These are allergenic proteins also found in certain species of fish.
Chicken is a low FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for F
olyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.
Chicken does not contain salicylates as they are associated with plants. This makes lean meats a good food to eat if you suffer from symptoms of sensitivity to salicylates.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
An allergy to poultry can sometimes be associated with an allergy to egg, this is called Bird-Egg Syndrome. In these cases sensitivity to egg is to the proteins in egg yolk, alpha livetin (gal d 5), which is found in both chickens and eggs.
IgE allergy to egg is usually from the egg white (proteins gal d 1 to 4), so whilst people who are allergic to chickens can become intolerant or allergic to egg, it doesn’t usually work the other way around due to the different proteins involved.
Beef and pork are other foods containing serum albumin proteins.
Other foods containing aldolase and enolase proteins include chicken, cod, catfish, salmon and tuna.
These food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Allergen Encyclopedia - Chicken
Do you have a chicken allergy?
ACAAI - Meat Allergy
NY-ASC - Chicken Allergy
WHO Allergen Nomenclature - Chicken
Healthline -= FODMAP Foods
Articles and Journals
Antigen presentation induced variation in ovalbumin sensitization between chicken and duck species, 2023
Occupational Bioaerosol Exposures Associated with Poultry Farming, 2023
A case of acute Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) to fish, turkey and duck, 2022
Poultry Meat allergy: a Review of Allergens and Clinical Phenotypes, 2022
Gal d 7—a major allergen in primary chicken meat allergy, 2020
Actin as a Possible Cross-Reactive Allergen Between Fish and Poultry, 2019
Meat allergy and allergens, 2018
Molecular and Extract-Based Diagnostics in Meat Allergy, 2017
Update on the bird-egg syndrome and genuine poultry meat allergy, 2016
Cross-reactivity to fish and chicken meat – a new clinical syndrome, 2016
Chicken Meat Anaphylaxis in a Child with No Allergies to Eggs or Feathers, 2014
Severe Allergy to Chicken Meat, 2006
Bird-egg Syndrome in Children, 2003
Chicken Serum Albumin (Gal D 5*) Is a Partially Heat-Labile Inhalant and Food Allergen Implicated in the Bird-Egg Syndrome, 2001
Identification of Alpha Livetin as a Cross Reacting Allergen in a Bird-Egg Syndrome, 1994
Egg Protein Sensitization in Patients With Bird Feather Allergy, 1991
Let me know if you found any of these interesting or useful.
If you spot an article or research that you think is interesting you can message me or tag me on Facebook or Twitter - links at the bottom of the page.