Allergen Data Collection: Pork (Sus scrofa)
Internet Symposium on Food Allergens 3(4):185-92 (2001) []
1 Prevalence of Pork Allergy

Prevalence data are based on different diagnostic procedures. While the prevalence of sensitization (sensitivity) can be estimated by SPT, RAST, and immunoblot, a clinical relevant sensitization (allergy) is evaluated by convincing history (anamnesis) or food challenge tests (ideally by DBPCFC).

1.1 General Population

Prevalence estimates within the author's selected populations are listed. Those that are assigned randomly selected ("unselected") with numbers more than 500 may be regarded as representative of the "general populations". Inclusion criteria may involve circumstances not related to atopic predisposition according to current knowledge.
Country / Subjects Allergy / Sensitivity to References
Germany, Augsburg
1537 subjects between 28 and 78 years of age
(study period from 1997 to 1998)
pork 3.4% (SPT)
pork 2.0% (corresponding frequency estimates for the representative study base, n=4178) 
Böhler et al. 2001

1.2 Subjects with Atopic or Other Diseases
Country / Subjects Allergy / Sensitivity to References
34 idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS) patients with or without atopic manifestations
pork meat 26% (human basophil degranulation test) Lagrue et al. 1986
a) asthmatic children
b) asthmatic adults
a) pork 20% (RAST)
b) pork 8.6% (RAST)
Sabbah 1990
80 cases of food- related anaphylaxis (from 1993-97)
pork kidney 1.3% (reported to CICBAA databank) European Commission 1998
France, Pierre Benite
580 patients with adverse reactions to food (study period 1984-92)
pork 17% (RAST) Andre et al. 1994
France, Nancy and Toulouse
544 food allergic children
pork 0.6% (food challenge) Rance et al. 1999b
South Africa, Cape Town
112 children with atopic dermatitis
pork 2.9% (reported by parents) Steinman & Potter 1994
Switzerland, Zurich
402 food allergic adults (study period 1978-87)
beef and pork 4.5% Wüthrich 1993
Switzerland, Zurich
383 food allergic patients (study period 1990-94)
pork 2.6% Etesamifar & Wüthrich 1998
USA, Durham, NC
113 atopic children
pork 28% (SPT)
pork 1.8% (DBPCFC)
Sampson & McCaskill 1985
USA, Little Rock, AR
165 patients with atopic dermatitis
pork 6.7% (SPT) from which non were DBPCFC-positive (n=7) Burks et al. 1998
USA, Memphis, TN
266 patients with anaphylaxis (age of 12-75 years, study period 1978-92)
pork 4.5% Kemp et al. 1995

1.3 Prevalence of Associated Allergies
Country / Subjects Sensitivity / Allergy to References
France, Angers
pork-allergic patients
cat epithelia Drouet et al. 1994b
USA, New Orleans, LA
57 subjects with suspected meat allergy
beef 73%
lamb 71%
pork 58%
vension 59%
chicken 41%
turkey 38%
(grid immunoblot)
Ayuso et al. 1999

2 Symptoms of Pork Allergy
Symptoms & Case Reports References
systemic reactions
anaphylaxis (1, 4*, 9*), excercise induced anaphylaxis (5), fatal reactions (10**), tachycardia (4)

cutaneous symptoms
angioedema (4), contact urticaria (6), contact dermatitis (7), itching (4), itching of ears, face, and hands (4), pruritus (2), urticaria (4), generalized urticaria (4) 

gastrointestinal symptoms
abdominal pain (2, 4), diarrhea (4), glottis edema (4), nausea (4), oral allergy syndrome (8), sore throat (2), vomiting (4)

respiratory symptoms
dyspnoe (4)

other symptoms
migraine (3)

* after ingestion of pork kidney (4, 9) and gut (9)
** after ingestion of wild boar meat

(1) Pavel & Comanescu 1969
(2) Bernstein et al. 1982
(3) Mylek et al. 1992
(4) Wüthrich 1996
(5) Drouet et al. 1994b
(6) Valsecchi et al. 1994
(7) Kanerva 1996
(8) Asero et al. 1997
(9) Llatser et al. 1998
(10) Drouet et al. 2001
Threshold for Elicitation of Symptoms
The cumulative dose of 14.1 g freeze-dried pork induced allergic symptoms in a pork allergic adult (DBPCFC) (1)
(1) Bernstein et al. 1982

3 Diagnostic Features of Pork Allergy
Parameters / Subjects Outcome References
SPT, Clinical Relevance
9 reportedly pork allergic subjects
0% had positive SPT Boccafogli et al. 1994

4 Composition of Pork

5 Allergens of Pork
Proteins / Glycoproteins Allergen Nomenclature* References
Serum Albumin [67 kDa]**   Sabbah et al. 1994a + 1994b, Asero et al. 1997
Allergens: 51, 40, and 28-30 kDa (pork meat)   Llatser et al. 1998
Allergens: 200, 90, 57, and 47 kDa (pork kidney)   Llatser et al. 1998
Allergens: 57 and 27 kDa (pork gut)   Llatser et al. 1998
* current list of the Allergen Nomenclature Sub-Committee 2001
** Accession numbers: P08835, M36787, X12422

5.1 Sensitization to Pork Allergens
Country / Subjects Sensitivity to References
USA, New Orleans, LA
57 subjects with suspected meat allergy
pork tropomyosin in 1 of 57
(Grid immunoblot)
Ayuso et al. 1999

6 Isolation & Preparation
Extract / Purified Allergens Methods References
Pork Protein Extraction from raw and cooked meat with PBS (pH 7.2) overnight; followed by centrifugation, dialysis, and lyophilization Asero et al. 1997

7 Cross-Reactivities
Cross-Reacting Allergens Subjects / Methods References
Pork: (Beef)
serum albumins from pork and beef
83% of patients sera reacted to pork serum albumin, 50% of patients had positive SPT to pork serum albumin (SDS-PAGE immunoblot inhibition, beef allergic patients with bovine serum albumin specific serum IgE) Restani et al. 1997, 1998
Pork: (Lamb)
pork kidney and gut from pork and lamb, respectively
IgE-binding 200 and 90 kDa allergens from pork kidney inhibited by gut from pork and lamb, no inhibition by pork meat extract (SDS-PAGE inhibition, 1 patient with anaphylaxis to pork kidney and gut and tolerance to pork meat) Llatser et al. 1998
Pork: (Cat)
pork meat and cat epithelia, serum albumin
In patients with pork / cat syndrome the common allergen is the 67-kDa albumin, while the major cat allergen Fel d 1 is characteristic in patients monosensitized to cat (RAST inhibition) Sabbah et al. 1994b
Drouet & Sabbah 1996

8 Stability of Pork Allergens
Treatment Effects References
raw and cooked pork
4 IgE-binding proteins with Mr from 20 to >100 kDa in raw pork, only a 65-kDa allergen (probably serum albumin) was detected in raw and cooked pork (1 pork allergic patient, SDS-PAGE immunoblot) Asero et al. 1997
raw and cooked pork
Positive SPT to raw meat and serum albumin; negative SPT to cooked meat in a meat allergic patient Kanny et al. 1998

9 Allergen Sources

9.1 Pork Allergen Sources
Reported Adverse Reactions References
Pork see 2 Symptoms of Pork Allergy
Breast Milk
Intestinal permeability tests showed breast-milk-induced alterations in a 1-month-old boy with gastrointestinal symptoms suggesting food allergy. Improvement of symptoms and normalization of intestinal permeability during provocation with the milk were obtained after elimination of egg and pork from the mother's diet (1)
(1) de Boissieu et al. 1994
Several Pork Products 
Oral allergy syndrome after ingestion of salami, both raw and cooked ham, and bacon in a 16-year old woman; other cooked pork products such as chops and sausages were tolerated (SPT, SDS-PAGE immunoblot) (1)
(1) Asero et al. 1997
Oral allergy syndrome after ingestion of salami containing dried, uncooked pork in a 21-year old woman (open challenge with fresh food, SPT) (1)
(1) Liccardi et al. 1996
A case of anaphylaxis induced by ingestion of a salami (source of meat not specified) (1)
(1) Pastorello et al. 2001
Two cases of anaphylaxis induced by ingestion of gelatine (source not specified) (1)
(1) Pumphrey & Stanworth 1996
Pharmaceuticals: Aprotinin
Severe allergic reactions in a pork and beef allergic woman after ingestion of poultry sausage containing ham (1)
(1) Wüthrich 1996

9.2 Pork Associated Allergen Sources
Reported Adverse Reactions References
Several Food Products
9 Adverse reactions to unexpected cow's milk allergens in
a) Meatballs containing 1.1% CAS (undeclared)
b) Hot dog containing 0.04% CAS (contaminated)
c) Recombined ham containing 2.6% (undeclared)
d) Sausage containing 1.0% CAS (undeclared)
e) Sausage containing 0.06% CAS (contaminated)
Malmheden Yman et al. 1994
Sausage (Texturing Agent)
Severe reactions after ingestion of sausage containing CAS (texturing agent) (1)
(1) Foucard et al. 1997
Meat (Tenderizing Agent)
Asthma after long-term contact with papain dust in a supervisor of a meat tenderizer factory (1)
(1) Novey et al. 1979
Oral allergy syndrome after ingestion of salami in a subject with monosensitization to mite allergens (1)
(1) Liccardi et al. 1996
"Salami Worker's Lung"
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in a woman (56 years) due to inhaled antigens from dust in a factory producing salamis; in the cultures of the material that covered the salamis Penicillium spp. was present and the suspected cause of hypersensitivity reactions  (1)
(1) Rivero et al. 1999
Veterinary Drug Residues
A 64 year old woman experienced anaphylactic shocks after ingestion of pork and beef, respectively. Food allergy to animal proteins excluded. The woman was highly sensitzed to penicillin. It was concluded that food induced anaphylaxis was linked to penicillin residues in meats (1)
(1) Kanny et al. 1994

10 References

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