Lupin allergy is on the rise in the United States. Lupin (or lupine) beans are legumes, they are in the same family as peanut. Lupin beans have high antioxidants, dietary fiber and protein and are low in starch. The popularity of lupin has risen possibly because like all legumes, they are gluten free.
Lupin beans are commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. They can be ground into flour or blended into regular wheat flour, it is used widely in Europe and Australia for baked goods, pastas, breads, sauces, beverages such as beer and meat based products, like sausages and hamburgers.
Lupin is being used more in the United States as well. It can be used as a substitute for gluten or soy and as a replacement for GMO ingredients and animal proteins such as dairy and egg.
Although lupin is not of the “top 8” allergens, lupin allergy is on the rise in the United States. Most people who consume lupin do not have any allergy reactions. However for a few people it can trigger an allergic reaction. If you have a peanut allergy, you have a higher risk of lupin allergy. Those who have lupin allergy, symptoms range from hives or swelling of the lips and face to gastrointestinal and respiratory distress.
Due to the frequent use of lupin in European and Australian goods, coupled with the rise of Lupin Allergy, manufactures in Europe are required to label for lupin as a food allergy. This requirement is voluntary in the U.S., Australia and Canada. U.S. laws and regulations only require labeling for the top 8 allergens (wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, nuts, shellfish and fish). One study revealed an allergenic protein in lupin flour was similar to one found in peanuts. Another study showed that nearly 50% of individuals with peanut allergy test positive to lupin.
Those with lupin allergy should be careful of unlabeled, over the counter baked goods like pastries, bread rolls or beer at a local bar.
As demand for gluten free products rise, so may the prevalence of lupin allergy. If you are concerned about lupin allergy, speak to a board-certified allergist to discuss risk, testing and prevention. Avoidance is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction now. If you or a family member are allergic to peanut, you may also react to lupin, take special care to read ingredient lists.
Alternative names for Lupin:
- Lupin Bean/Flour
- Lupine Bean/Flour
- Lupin Seed