Cow's whey

Further Reading

Cow's milk f2 

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Code: f236
Latin name: Bos spp.
Source material: Whey powder
Whey is the by-product of cheese-making. Milk proteins contain about 20% whey components. 

Allergen Exposure

Processed cheese.
Unexpected exposure
Bread and pastry.
Ice cream.
Dry mixes.
Milk formulas for infants.

Clinical Experience

IgE-mediated reactions
Whey is milk depleted of most of the casein but otherwise equivalent to intact milk. a-lactalbumin and b-lactoglobulin are major allergens.
Whey is the by-product of cheese-making. Whey is commonly included as an ingredient in baked goods, bread, ice cream, frozen desserts, dry mixes, processed cheese, confections, sauces and gravies.
Milk proteins contain about 20% whey components. These are denatured in varying degrees by heating (1). a-lactalbumin, b-lactoglobulin and bovine serum albumin (BSA) are major allergens of whey.
Clinical experience
Ellis et al. (2) reported anaphylaxis after ingestion of a hydrolyzed whey protein formula in an infant. They urged caution when introducing such formulae to highly sensitive children.


  1. Kilshaw, PJ; Effects of heat treatment of cow’s milk and whey on the nutritional quality and antigenic properties. Arch Dis Child; 1982; 57: 842- 847.
  2. Ellis, MH; Short, J; Heiner, DC. Anaphylaxis after ingestion of a recently introduced hydrolyzed whey protein formula. J Pediatr; 1991; 118: 74-77.


As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.