A study conducted in Australia found a possible link between red meat allergy and sensitization to gelatin and galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose.
This was a prospective evaluation of 1,335 adults who were suspected of allergy or anaphylaxis to medication, insect venom, or food. In the study that was conducted from 1997 to 2011, the participants were administered a gelatin colloid skin test. (This test currently is not available in the United States.)
Of the participants evaluated, 40 tested positive for gelatin. Of those, 30 had a red meat allergy, with 12 of the 30 participants being clinically allergic to gelatin. Two patients had anaphylaxis induced by gelatin colloid, four had idiopathic anaphylaxis, and four were allergic to a drug.
Investigators said other studies have found the IgE response to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-Gal) to be crucial. These studies have indicated that the IgE link to alpha-Gal is a potential mediator of red meat allergy. The studies also found a link between tick bites and an adult-onset allergy to red meat.
Researchers wrote that the subset of participants was allergic to both red meat and gelatin, and they noted that the alpha-Gal in gelatin might be the target of the IgE reaction. The researchers concluded, however, that the relationship between sensitization to gelatin, alpha-Gal and red meat is not fully known.
Disclosure: See the study for a full list of relevant disclosures.