Probiotics may contain hidden food allergens


Since probiotics are often used in the treatment of allergic disease, it makes sense to ensure that the probiotics used as treatment are not going to cause any reactions themselves. A Spanish study has reviewed eleven types of commercially available probiotics. The researchers, from the Dept. of Allergy, Hospital La Paz, Paseo de la Castellana 261, Madrid, and the Public Health Laboratory, Institute of Public Health in Madrid, examined the labels of these probiotics and then ran tests to determine whether they have cow’s milk or hen’s egg in their ingredients.

The researchers carried out skin prick tests on five children with hen’s egg allergy, five with cow’s milk allergy and five controls with no allergy. Three serum pools were used to detect the allergens in the probiotics.

Of the eleven probiotics included in the study, no label mentioned hen’s egg content, eight labels warned of lactose, lactic acid or cow’s milk presence, one claimed to be milk free and two had no information. However, cow’s milk proteins were detected in ten of the eleven products. Hen’s egg white was detected in three of the eleven products, one at a level of more than 2.5mg/kg.

The researchers conclude that probiotic compounds for sale on the market may contain hidden food allergens that are not safe for people with cow’s milk or hen’s egg allergy.

Source: Paediatric Allergy and Immunology

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First Published in August 2012

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