It's possible that last meal you ate contained something called lupine. If you're like most people you've probably never heard of this ingredient. It's a type of flour made from a plant in the pea family. It's also related to peanuts and that's why allergy specialists want more people to be on the lookout. Fifteen-year-old Jared Cohen doesn't take his after school snacks lightly, or any food for that matter, after two meals at different restaurants may have caused him to have dangerous allergic reactions.
"I just got these hives and everything and temperature started to rise, and I just got sweaty," he said.
Jared now knows he's allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. But it may have been fettucini alfredo that made him severely ill. The mystery is that that both restaurants say the dishes never came in contact with peanuts.
"We were scratching our heads; we had absolutely no clue," said Jared' mother, Sari Marsh.
Allergist Therese Fitzsimons was also puzzled as to why Jared got so ill. And then she saw a recent article in the journal of Allergy And Clinical Immunology. It talks about something called lupine flour.
Lupine belongs to the legume family, which includes chickpeas, lentils, white beans and peanuts.
Most people will have no problem with this ingredient, but lupine and the peanut are closely related, and it's been estimated that about 50-percent of people with peanut allergies can react to lupine. It's also possible to be allergic to lupine without being allergic to peanuts.
"Many, many people, including physicians, are not aware of lupine," said Fitzsimons.
And that's a big concern. It could be avoided if allergy patients knew to look for it or ask about it. Fitzsimons suspects lupine is showing up in imported products but may not be listed on the labels.
More commonly used in European countries, lupine can be found in foods such as pasta, cookies, pancake flour and snacks.
-Provided by NBC7 news
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