Legume Lupin on FDA Radar as Risky Allergen

Megan Brooks

August 20, 2014

August 19, 2014 — Lupin, a legume in the peanut family, can cause allergic reactions, including potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns in a consumer update posted on its Web site August 15.

Lupin, sometimes called lupine, is relatively new to the US market, the FDA notes. Some Americans may not be aware of this legume, which can be found in packaged food products and in the form of lupini beans at Italian and other ethnic specialty stores.

"For many people, eating lupin or a lupin-derived ingredient, such as a flour, is safe. But there are reports in the medical literature of allergic reactions to lupin, some of which can be severe," Stefano Luccioli, MD, a senior medical advisor at the FDA, says in the update.

Check the Label

This legume is likely to become more popular because lupin-derived ingredients are "good substitutes" for gluten-containing flours and are frequently being used in gluten-free products, the FDA says.

"We're seeing more gluten-free products on the grocery aisles these days," Dr. Luccioli reports, and increasingly, consumers are more aware of gluten and are buying these products. Therefore, the FDA says, it's "increasingly important that they recognize that lupin is a potential allergen."

"While many parents know to look for and avoid peanut ingredients in the diet of their peanut-allergic child, they may have no idea what lupin is or whether it is an ingredient that could cause their child harm," Dr. Luccioli notes.

Consumers wishing to avoid this legume should carefully scan product labels for "lupin" or "lupine," the FDA advises.

The FDA is actively monitoring complaints of lupin allergies in the US. They ask consumers and health providers to report lupin-related adverse events to the FDA by phone at 240-402-2405; by email at CAERS@cfsan.fda.gov; or by mail to FDA, CAERS, HFS-700, 2A-012/CPK1, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740.


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