What Is All The Beef About? Understanding The Facts Behind A Meat Allergy

After enjoying a great piece of steak you find that your nose gets stuffy or perhaps runs instead.  Maybe your burger leaves you nauseous or after the lamb chops you notice a rash.  Believe it or not you may have a meat allergy.  Meat from any animal can in fact cause an allergic reaction, and while it is uncommon they do exist.  

A meat allergy can develop at any time in your life, although a small percentage of children with milk allergies are also allergic to beef.

  Quite often when someone is allergic to one kind of meat, they are allergic to others.  And as in any food allergy, it is always important to retest often, as one can outgrow the allergies over time. 

The symptoms can vary from person to person, as well as the severity of the reactions.  The symptoms can include congestion, hives, stomach cramps, vomiting and even lead to anaphylaxis.  For these reasons it is critical not to ignore possible signs of an allergy. 

There are also documented cases of a bite from the Lone Star tick that can cause people to develop an allergy to meat, including beef and pork.  In these case’s the allergy is related to a carbohydrate called alpha-gal and is diagnosed through a blood test.  The symptoms often take hours to develop, making it difficult to determine the cause for the reaction.  The Lone Star tick has been found to have initiated the red meat allergy within the United States.


After being diagnosed by an allergist, it is important to understand your meat allergy.  It is important to understand if you are allergic to beef, pork or which meats in particular.  For many it is not only the consumption of the meat that causes a reaction, but handling it or being into a kitchen when it is prepared may evoke symptoms.

  Once you understand your allergy, you can learn how to live safely with it. 

For those who are allergic to meat, it is important to learn how this can affect you nutritionally.  Meat in the diet is often a significant source of protein, iron, B vitamins and zinc, among other nutrients.  In the cases of a meat allergy one should find alternative sources to add to the diet to avoid any nutrient deficiencies.  This may include vegetarian sources of protein, fish or dairy products.  Balancing the rest of the intake with fruits and vegetables and carbohydrates will allow for a healthy diet. 

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