When we have a food allergy, reading labels is a necessity to avoid an allergic reaction. The potential allergy triggers are known and avoided. There is a new potential allergen and that is lupin, a legume that is also part of the same plant family as peanuts. Lupin can be present in a wide range of food products including flour, imported specialty foods and gluten-free foods.

The most dangerous reaction to lupin can occur for those with a pre-existing allergy to peanuts. Exposure for this group is similar to an anaphylactic reaction and requires an EpiPen and immediate medical attention.

Lupin in flour is popular in Europe and is a less expensive ingredient to be used in flour mixes for pancakes and waffles. It is now being used in North America and should be listed as an ingredient whenever it is used. A recent recall of a bread and waffle mix from a major grocer show the surprising ways that lupin can emerge! The ingredients did list lupin way down on the list, so must always read labels before trying…!

Lupin is also widely used in Europe and with the popularity of imported foods can pose a danger. As a consequence, lupin could show up in everything from dry goods to canned foods. If travelling in Europe, even fresh foods need too be examined for ingredients. Fresh bread, pasta, deserts should be verified before consumption.

The current popularity of gluten free diets can be a concern, if lupin poses a dietary threat. Given that regular flour is not used for that diet, alternatives must be chosen. The choices can range from gluten free flour and soy flour to lupin.