A hidden ingredient found most often in foods labeled “gluten free” may have implications to children who suffer from peanut and soy allergies. Several medical studies have linked a new allergen, lupin, to allergic reaction in people who suffer from allergies to peanut or soy.
Even though the food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires food manufacturers to include all ingredients on food labels, many Americans may not know what lupin is, or its potential hazards, because the food is relatively new in the United States. Recently, the FDA posted a warning for allergy sufferers on their consumer updates page about the potential dangers of ingesting lupin.
What Is Lupin?
Lupin is a legume that belongs to the peanut family. It is a yellow bean that is high in fiber and protein and low in fat. Lupin can be eaten whole, or used as a flour or protein.
Because people who suffer from Celiac Disease can also experience nutritional deficiencies due to poor nutritional intake and absorption, proper replacement of the missing nutrients is essential. Lupin has recently emerged as a leading nutritional supplement for those who cannot eat wheat. Lupin’s health properties are one of the reasons it’s becoming such a popular gluten replacement.
How Is Lupin Used?
Lupin is used most often in the United States as a replacement for flours that contain gluten. Although lupin is a staple in Europe and the Mediterranean, it has recently been introduced to the United States in the form of a gluten replacement in pastas and baked goods. Some ethnic specialty stores may also carry lupin whole, under the name lupini, an Italian bean.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Although a lupin allergy can develop over time, children who already suffer from peanut or soy allergies are most at risk for adverse allergic reaction to eating lupin. However, the FDA reports that ingesting lupin flour is generally safe for most people despite the fact that medical studies have reported severe reactions, such as anaphylaxis, as a result of eating lupin.
Generally, reactions to eating lupin can include itching, hives, swelling, vomiting or anaphylaxis.
How to Avoid Lupin
If your child suffers from an allergy to peanuts or soy, it is advisable to avoid eating lupin. Remember to read all food labels thoroughly and often for the presence of allergens. Lupin may be called lupin, lupine or lupini, so be sure to look for all three words.
In accordance with FALCPA, manufacturers are required to list lupin as an ingredient on food labels when lupin is present. Though not required, labels may also have a “contains” or “may contain” statement that lists peanuts, soy or soya.
Since lupin is relatively new to the United States and little is known about its effects on people who ingest it, more information is needed. You can ensure food safety continues and help researchers understand lupin and lupin related allergic reactions by reporting any lupin related adverse reactions to the FDA in one of the following ways:
- By phone at: (240) 402-2405
- By email at:CAERS@cfsan.fda.gov
- By mail at:
FDA, CAERS, HFS-700, 2A-012/CPK1
5100 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740
As always, if you believe your child is experiencing an allergic reaction, remove the food source and seek medical attention immediately.