By Allergen Bureau

The Importance of Labelling Lupin

The increasing use of plant-based proteins has seen greater uptake of lupin in the worldwide food market. While less than one percent of the Australian population is believed to have a lupin allergy, reports of lupin allergy are increasing globally.

A great deal is still unknown about the cross-reactivity between peanut and lupin, the allergenic potential of different lupin species, and sensitisation patterns among different populations. Researchers have looked at the molecular basis of lupin allergy and sought to determine lupin allergens from three different species that may be involved in cross-reactivity with peanut.

A group of 43 people with either peanut allergy, lupin allergy or non food-allergic controls participated in the study. Through an oral food challenge, 44 per cent of those with peanut allergy were confirmed to have lupin allergy.

Further analysis showed that within the group of lupin-allergic study participants, γ-conglutin was the major protein causing lupin allergy, compared with α and β-conglutins

Anaphylaxis was the most frequent manifestation after lupin consumption, with a minimal eliciting dose of 1 g lupin flour.

The authors conclude that due to the high prevalence of lupin allergy among those with peanut allergy, it is important that lupin be labelled as an allergen when present in a food.

Reference: Aguilera-Insunza et al. 2022. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2022.09.036.

Also see the related article: Labelling for the presence of lupin became mandatory in Australia and New Zealand legislation in May 2018. Lupin was added to VITAL Online in 2017.