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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Goat Milk Allergies Are Real

Goat milk is the current hot fashion and so most of what you read about goat milk comes from people who are trying to sell you the stuff. Objectivity isn't their goal. Money is. Some are true believers, to be sure, but I wouldn't go first to true believers for my facts.

So it's not true that goat milk is good for people with lactose intolerance. And it's not true that goat milk is good for people with cow's milk protein allergies.

What is true is that goat's milk has a somewhat different set of proteins than cow's milk, so some people, the ones who are allergic to the specific proteins that are found in cow's milk but not goat's milk, can safely drink goat's milk. You can't know for sure who you are unless you get a very sophisticated test or actually try drinking the milk and challenging yourself.

What is less obvious is that the reverse is also true. If goat's milk has a different set of proteins and people are allergic to some proteins but not others, there must be people who are allergic to goat's milk but not to cow's milk. You never hear the goat milk crowd warning anybody about this, but it must logically be true.

And here's the case that show it. A story by Conor Sharkey in the Strabane Chronicle in Ireland reported the harrowing tale of Rachel Devine, who went into a coma on a holiday trip to Turkey after eating some ice cream.

The terrifying incident occurred in August when Rachel Devine (24) was holidaying in Turkey with her boyfriend. On the second day of their break, Rachel unwittingly bought an ice-cream made from goat's milk. Within minutes the law graduate's allergy to the milk took hold, bringing on anaphylactic shock and subsequently a heart attack.

As Rachel slipped into coma, she was rushed by military escort to the nearest intensive care unit before being transferred to a specialist unit in Ismear, 40 miles away.

The following morning her parents Stephen and Sandra flew out to Ismear to be told that their daughter's future hung very much in the balance.

Ten days later, Rachel was transferred by air amubulance to Altnagelvin and then Belfast's Royal Victoria where she remained in intensive care for almost four weeks.


"She and her boyfriend Chris had gone to Turkey on holiday and on the second day she bought an ice cream. She has only recently developed this allergy to goat's milk and just didn't realise.

"She could go down and buy an ice cream over here any day of the week and would be fine but didn't realise it was goat's milk she was eating out there. It just crept up on her.

I'm glad she's recovering. And I'll bet she'll never make this mistake again.

Don't you make this mistake either. While it's possible that you may be able to have goat's milk products even with a dairy protein allergy, don't test this theory out while on vacation in a country whose language you don't speak. Know your foods.

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1 comment:

Rachel said...

To whoever wrote this article, you have portrayed me as stupid. Of course I won't make that mistake again. I hope you never have to know what it's like to go through what I did/