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Buyer Beware: More Functional Foods Are Fortified With Allergenic Milk Proteins

December 13, 2010: 10:58 AM EST

A study by New Zealand researchers warns that functional foods are being produced with increasingly high levels of milk proteins that make them “hyperallergenic” and likely to cause severe reactions in people who are allergic to milk. Consumers, regulatory authorities and the food industry all share the responsibility of preventing “inadvertent exposure,” the researchers said. Food allergies affect about six percent of children and four percent of adults. Allergic reactions can range from mild abdominal discomfort to death from anaphylaxis. Functional food companies have begun to add allergenic proteins without adequately warning consumers. The researchers found, for example, that in comparison with cow’s milk, a product known as Wh2ole contains at least three times the concentration of β−lactoglobulin, one of the main allergens in cow’s milk.

Rohan Ameratunga and See-Tarn Woon, "Anaphylaxis to hyperallergenic functional foods", Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology , December 13, 2010, © Ameratunga and Woon, licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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