The animal rights/vegan crowd like to crow about how ‘healthy’ it is to consume faux meat. “Save the planet – eat fake meat” and working to convince potential consumers what the mish-mash of processed food will do for their waistlines are two of the greatest selling points.
Lurking in the bowels of that fake burger could be something that may bite unsuspecting consumers in the behind – pea protein, according to a recent article in the Daily Mail.
“Two-year-old Libby was unconscious – her lips red and swollen, face puffy, skin mottled, wheezing, with streaming eyes. Consultant allergy specialist Dr. Elana Levine had seen the reaction many times before. Anaphylactic shock, an extreme allergic reaction – probably due to peanuts, she thought.”
The doctor immediately administered a life-saving shot of the hormone noradrenaline.
Thinking the culprit was peanuts, the doctor administered several tests and discovered the ingredient causing the allergic reaction was pea protein – a substance found in vegan meat-substitute products such as burgers and sausages.
Dr. Levin conducted a test on those she believed to be suffering pea protein allergy. The results confirmed her theory that a phenomenon called ‘cross reactivity’ was occurring.
‘Allergies to one food make you more likely to have problems with other similar ones – as in peanuts and pea protein,’ she says.
The higher the quantity, the higher the chance of a reaction. In vegan products that ‘copy’ meat, manufacturers need to use high levels of the protein to replicate the amount normally supplied by the animal, said the Daily Mail article.
In the ‘bleeding’ Beyond Meat burger, for example, now available in Tesco, pea protein accounts for roughly a fifth of the ingredients.
So much for the health-craze hype surrounding faux meat. Those with peanut allergies take heed – check out the ingredients of any fake meat before consuming. Or – eat the real thing.