Cow’s Whey Allergy Test
Latin name: Bos spp.
Source material: Whey powder
Cow’s whey is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Cow’s Whey Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Cow’s whey is a byproduct of cheese making, during which cow’s milk is separated into curds, used to make the cheese, and whey, the remaining liquid part.
Two types of whey exist: sweet whey, produced as a byproduct of the manufacture of hard cheeses such as Cheddar or Swiss; and acid, or sour whey produced as a byproduct of the manufacture of acid dairy products such as yoghurt or cottage cheese.
Whey is commonly included as an ingredient in ice cream, frozen desserts, dry mixes, processed cheese, confections, sauces and gravies. It contains relatively high levels of protein, but is low in fat.
Cream can be produced from whey, from which it is possible to make whey butter. As whey contains little fat, around 1,000 parts of whey are required to yield 2 to 5 parts of butter, however it is nonetheless cheaper to manufacture than whole milk butter.
As whey cream or butter are more strongly flavoured than their whole milk counterparts, they are often used as flavourings in processed foods.
Cow’s whey may also be considered a hidden allergen as it is commonly used in products where it might be unexpected, including baked goods such as breads and pastries, infant milk formula and dry mixes.
Whey protein is commonly marketed as a dietary supplement, particularly in the sport of bodybuilding. Various health claims have also been attributed to it in the alternative medicine community.
In areas where cheese is made, excess whey byproduct is sometimes sprayed over hay fields as a fertilizer.
Cow’s Whey Allergy Test: Allergen Description
Whey is essentially identical to whole milk in terms of its allergenic potential apart from the near complete absence of casein. The protein in cow’s milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein.
Major allergens present in cow’s whey include a-lactalbumin and b-lactoglobulin.
Patients sensitive to the allergens present in cow’s whey should avoid other foodstuffs where these occur, such as cow’s milk.
Cow’s Whey Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Cross-reactivity between cow’s milk and the milk from other mammals such as goat and sheep has been reported. Cross‐reactivity to donkey, mare, and camel milk is rarely observed.
Milk and milk proteins from buffalo, sheep, goat, pig, camel, mare, donkey, reindeer, and yak can be used to produce dairy products or may be added to cow’s milk.
In some cases homologous milk proteins of different species can lead to cross‐reactivity in sensitized/allergic individuals.
Cow’s Whey Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Anaphylaxis has been reported in an infant after ingestion of a whey protein formula.
As whey proteins are altered by high temperatures, whey-sensitive people may be able to tolerate evaporated, boiled, or sterilized milk.
Hard cheeses are high in casein, but low in whey proteins, and are the least allergenic for those allergic to whey proteins.
Because whey contains lactose, it should be avoided by those who are lactose intolerant. Particularly when used as a food additive, whey may contain lactose levels far in excess of the tolerance of most lactose-intolerant individuals.