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Can You Eat Turkey if You're Allergic to Chicken?

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Can You Eat Turkey if You're Allergic to Chicken?
A freshly baked turkey ready to be served. Photo Credit: 5PH/iStock/Getty Images

Even though turkey and chicken are both in the poultry meat group, you might be able to eat turkey even if you’re allergic to chicken. Allergic reactions are the result of a hypersensitivity of the immune system to proteins or carbohydrates in the meat. The proteins and carbs found in chicken are different from turkey and might not trigger an allergic reaction. Before eating turkey, talk with your allergist and undergo allergy tests to determine beforehand if you will develop an allergic reaction.

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Chicken Allergy

Allergic reactions to meat are not as common as other foods, but are possible. According to, medical doctors are reconsidering the prevalence of meat-related allergies. An allergic reaction to chicken occurs when your immune system malfunctions and reacts to the proteins or carbs in the chicken as a threatening substance. This causes a chemical response throughout the body, with immunoglobulin E antibodies, histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals cause inflammation in soft tissues, leading to common food allergy symptoms.


If you eat turkey and develop common food allergy symptoms, stop eating the turkey and call you doctor. Common food allergy symptoms include wheezing, trouble breathing, chest tightness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, skin rashes, hives, eczema, nasal congestion and dizziness. Severe allergic reaction symptoms include an increased heart rate, the inability to breathe, facial swelling and throat swelling. If you develop one or more of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Precautionary Testing

Some food groups, such as tree nuts and shell fish, are more likely to cause allergic reactions, so it’s advisable to participate in allergy testing before eating turkey if you think you might be allergic. Proteins and carbs from turkey will be injected under your skin. If your skin becomes irritated, red and inflamed, your doctor will take a sample of your blood to determine if your body creates immunoglobulin E antibodies. If both allergy tests are negative for a turkey allergy, you can eat turkey without fearing an allergic reaction.


The allergic reaction you experience from eating chicken might be the result of other ingredients or side dishes with the meal. The most common food allergens include fish, tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, strawberries, pineapple, tomatoes and melons. Food allergies have no cure and are only effectively treated by avoiding foods that trigger an allergic reaction.

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