Heat treatment modifies the allergenicity of beef and bovine serum albumin


Alessandro Fiocchi, MD Department of Paediatrics San Paolo Biomedical Institute 8, via Di Rudini Milan 20142 Italy


The effect of heat on the allergenicity of beef and bovine serum albumin was investigated among 10 toddlers skin prick test (SPT)-positive to raw and cooked beef. The meat-allergy diagnosis was confirmed during double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) with 180 g of beef cooked for 5 min at 100°C. SPT with homogenized and freeze-dried beef, and heated and unheated bovine serum albumin were performed. Both heated and unheated bovine serum albumin, homogenized beef, and freeze-dried beef were used in trial DBPCFC. All children were SPT-positive to unheated bovine serum albumin. Seven were positive to heated bovine serum albumin, one to freeze-dried beef, and none to homogenized beef. DBPCFCs were negative for homogenized beef and freeze-dried beef, positive for unheated bovine serum albumin in five patients, and positive for heated albumin in four children. We conclude that heating reduces sensitization to beef and bovine serum albumin but does not abolish reactivity to albumin under home conditions. However, industrially heat-treated and sterilized homogenized beef and freeze-dried beef may be suitable substitutes in beef-allergic children's diets.