The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that a little legume could cause big allergic reactions.
Lupin, sometimes referred to as 'lupine,' is a legume that belongs in the peanut family. This is why that people who are allergic to peanuts will also likely be allergic to lupin. People can develop a lupin allergy over time, or they can have an existing allergy.
"For many people, eating lupin or a lupin-derived ingredient, such as a flour, is safe," Stefano Luccioli, M.D., a senior medical advisor at the FDA, said in a release. "But there are reports in the medical literature of allergic reactions to lupin, some of which can be severe."
Lupin allergies can cause anaphylaxis, often called anaphylactic shock, which can be life-threatening and occurs very quickly. Other symptoms include hives, swelling of the lips, vomiting and breathing difficulties.
Lupin is a relative newcomer to the U.S. but it's a diet staple in Europe. Since legume-derived ingredients are a good gluten substitute, lupin is likely to become more popular as the number of gluten-free consumers grows.
Like all food ingredients, if lupin is present in a food, it needs to be listed on the label.