Typically, animal-derived proteins are implicated in food allergies. However, animal proteins can play a role in inhalant allergies with secondary food allergy symptoms.
A 42-year-old female with a history of occupational inhalant allergy to pork reported rhinitis, asthma, dysphonia and conjunctivitis 30 minutes after ingestion of chicken.
Skin tests were positive to chicken meat.
Protein extracts were prepared from chicken meat and the patient showed specific IgE binding to chicken meat proteins. Inhibition studies with chicken and porcine hemoglobin as well as with serum albumins demonstrated cross-reactive IgE antibodies.
This is a case of confirmed occupational inhalant allergy due to pork followed by food allergy to pork and 3 years later by food allergy to chicken.
Porcine and chicken hemoglobin were found to be cross-reactive allergens.
Cross-reactivity between porcine and chicken serum albumin was possibly linked to a prior sensitization to cat serum albumin.
Most patients allergic to red meat are sensitized to gelatin. Alpha-Gal IgE might be the target of reactivity to gelatin (JACI, 2012).
Occupational Inhalant Allergy to Pork followed by Food Allergy to Pork and Chicken: Sensitization to Hemoglobin and Serum Albumin. Hilger C, Swiontek K, Hentges F, Donnay C, de Blay F, Pauli G. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2009 Sep 15;151(2):173-178
A small number of people who are allergic to cat may also get allergic reactions when eating pork http://goo.gl/zVSaN
Image source: Varieties of meat, Wikipedia, public domain.