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I remember as a kid watching actor/comedian Bill Cosby use his funny smirk to show how delicious and nutritious Jello-O pudding was to eat. Cosby’s famous line: “What does your mouth say when you eat it?” The kids answered, “Mmm, mmm, good, Jell-O pudding!”

Well, as we came to realize Jell-O (with all its sugar) isn’t the best snack a parent could choose for their child. However, now more information is coming out that Gelatin, the main ingredient in Jello-O and a lot of other candies, foods, and vaccines, is a cause of allergic reactions.

This past fall 2013, The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology presented research by the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai that showed Gelatin was responsible for the adverse reactions to the flu vaccination in one patient’s case, and no egg allergy, as was previously thought.

What Exactly Is Gelatin?

Gelatin crystals

Gelatin is a mixture of proteins from cow, pig, and fish — the collagen or connective tissue taken from the animal’s tendons (which is why some vegetarians and all vegans avoid it). The gelatin in vaccines is more likely to cause an allergic reaction in a vaccine once it has been concentrated and purified.

The vaccines that contain gelatin are:

  • influenza
  • measles
  • mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • varicella (Chickenpox or Herpes Zoster)
  • diphtheria
  • tetanus
  • pertussis(DPT)

The case reported at the meeting involved a 4-year-old boy who developed a rash around his mouth after eating icing on a cake. He had received the influenza vaccine in the past without a problem. He did have a history of itchy mouth and stomach pain after eating gummy candies, gummy vitamins, and marshmallows. The patient did test positive to fresh gelatin on a skin test and was found to have allergy antibodies in the blood to cow gelatin.

The Good News

There are vaccines available for influenza and DTap without Gelatin! Contact us for more information.
Dr. Dean Mitchell Portrait

I have always been a big fan of Bill Cosby. And I know he is friends with Oprah (a strong supporter of good nutrition, which we support here at MMG.) I hope he won’t be insulted, but I hope his Jell-O commercials don’t go back on the air anytime soon.

– Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC

About the Author – Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.

The Smartest Doctor in the Room podcast

Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. is a Board Certified Allergist and Immunologist based out of NYC. He graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine and completed training at the Robert Cooke Allergy Institute in New York City. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the author of Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution: The Ultimate Program for Reversing Your Symptoms One Drop at a Time. Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. has also been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Fitness Magazine, Dr. Oz and News NY 1. Dr. Mitchell also hosts the podcast The Smartest Doctor in the Room – a combination of a lively, personal and in-depth interview with top healthcare specialists.