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Last Updated on April 21, 2023
Having a pork allergy is no-joke. It’s not as simple as avoiding pork. There are a lot of unsuspecting foods that contain pork. Here’s a list of the foods to avoid if you have a pork allergy.
Pork Allergy Foods to Avoid
If you have an allergy to pork, you might be wondering what foods you need to avoid. Well, the list is potentially long if you consume processed foods. If you are on a whole foods diet and avoid packaged foods, then it’s a lot easier to avoid coming into contact with pork.
But, what if you eat store-bought, packaged foods or snacks? It’s important to understand that pork by-products are in so many food items!
When you have meat allergies you would think that avoiding the type of meat that you have an adverse reaction to would keep you safe. Unfortunatelty, sometimes it’s not that simple.
Even being a stickler with reading food labels, sometimes the food products you consume could be trigger foods for your food intolerance. When you consume these food ingredients you could experience an allergic response.
Of course, the best way to avoid a severe reaction to a red meat allergy or pork allergy is to ensure what you eat doesn’t contain pork products.
You might be surprised to learn that some common foods may contain pork – and you had no idea! So, whether you have an alpha-gal allergy or just want to avoid meat products that contain pork, it’s important to know what to watch for so you can avoid allergic symptoms.
Symptoms of a Meat Allergy
- abdominal pain or upset stomach
- angiodema (skin swelling)
- blood pressure drop
- itchy skin
- nasal congestion
- runny nose
- shortness of breath
- skin rash
- swelling of lips, tongue, or face
- in severe cases, anaphylaxis
While a pork allergy isn’t one of the common food allergens, many people have it. If you discover you have food sensitivities you can try an elimination diet. It’s worth it to know what to avoid if you don’t like experiencing stomach pain.
Some gelatin is made from pork (other gelatin comes from beef). It can be found in various foods, such as marshmallows, candies, ice cream and jello.
In addition, insulin shots have a gelatin base. Some vaccines that contain pork gelatin may include, but are not limited to: rabies, flu, yellow fever, MMR+varicella, HPB, meningococcal and hepatitis A and B.
What is Gelatin?
Gelatin is often used as a thickener, a gelling agent, stabilizer, or texturizer in several food sources. It’s made from the bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments of cows or pigs.
When you have a pork allergy, it’s itmportant to either avoid gelatin all-together or be confident in the source of the gelatin (cows or pigs).
Pork Allergy Foods to Avoid
You should always check all labels for gelatin. While gelatin comes from beef too, most often the gelatin listed in ingredient labels comes from pork.
- Baked goods: cysteine is commonly found in baked goods. Cysteine is commonly made from pig bristles.
- Cereal: Some cereals contain gelatin, such as those with marshmallows or sugar coatings. (see list below)
- Chewing Gum: fruit gums often contain again gelatin and other gum has stearic acid listed as an ingredient. Stearic acid is often made from a pig’s stomach.
- Cream Cheese: some cream cheese products use gelatin as a thickener.
- Fast Food: many fast food items that are not seemingly pork also contain products related to pork.
- Juice: some juice contains gelatin.
- Toothpaste: some toothpastes use glycerin that is derived from pork.
- Wine: gelatin is used in some wine purification processes.
- Yogurt: some yogurt contains gelatin.
Other Foods to Watch Labels with a Pork Allergy
So many unsuspecting foods contain pork products. Be sure to read the labels very closely.
- canned biscuits
- cold cuts from the deli
- commercial baked goods
- fruit snacks
- ice cream
- pre-made pie shells
- store-bought gravy
Dairy Products that May Contain Pork
When purchasing dairy products, be sure to know and understand everything listed on the label. If gelatin is used as a thickener, you should avoid that food item.
A List of Which Cereals Have Pork
I’ve never assocaited pork with cereal, but you need to be a close label-watcher if you eat cereal. It’s especially important to avoid cereals with marshmallows, unless you are 100% certain that the gelatin used comes from cows instead of pork.
Some Kellogg’s® cereals contain marshmallows made from pork-related gelatin. If you are allergic to pork, you should avoid these cereals.
Kellogg’s® cereals that contain marshmallow additives:
- Fruity Marshmallow Krispies
- Marshmallow Froot Loops
- Smorz Cereal
- Rice Krispies Treat Krunch cereal
- Rice Krispies Treats Squares
- Special K Protein Snack bars
Other Kellogg’s® cereals contain marshmallow product derived from beef.
General Mills and Malt-O-Meal Cereals
Some General Mills and Malt-O-Meal cereals also must be avoided if you are allergic to pork.
- All Lucky Charms cereals
- Count Chocula
- Marshmallow Mateys
- Frosted Mini Spooners
Millville and Ralston Cereals
Some cereals that Aldi’s sells (supplied by Millville) contain gelatin or marshmallows that include pork. Frosted Shredded Wheat from Ralston Foods and Millville Marshmallows & Stars should be avoided.
Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS)
Alph-gal syndrome is also sometimes referred to as alpha-gal allergy, red meat allergy, or tick bite meat allergy. Alpha-gal syndrome is a type of food allergy. For unknown reasons, people who have an alpha-gal allergy are allergic to red meat.
Alpha-gal (galactose-α-1,3-galactose) is a sugar molecule that is found mammalian meat (pork, beef, rabbit, lamb, venison, etc.).
What are the symptoms of alpha-gal?
- difficulty breathing
- drop in blood pressure
- hives or skin rash
- severe stomach discomfort
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the lips, throat, tongue, or eye lids
- uspet stomach
What foods to avoid if you are allergic to alpha-gal?
People with AGS should avoid all red meat, including pork (which sometimes people call “the other white meat”). In the case of an alpha-gal allergy, pork isn’t considered a white meat.
Final Thoughts on Pork Allergies
If you suspect you might have a potential allergen you should avoid eating that food. The only way to be sure what you are allergic to is to get with your healthcare provider and do a blood test. In severe cases, it will be important to have on hand an epinephrine auto-injector (if you have a severe allergic reaction).