Living here in France and shopping for gluten-free products, I have noticed something that I had never seen in the states: a warning for products containing lupin. Given that if there is an allergenic warning for an ingredient I am probably allergic to it, I have avoided the mysterious ingredient haunting the various packaged gluten-free baguette flecking my organic neighborhood stores.
I decided to give it some research to see what exactly this coy “allergen” is, and here’s what I found:
Lupin allergies are strongly correlated with peanut allergies!
Good thing I haven’t tried it.
Lupin is a flowering plant in the legume family. Its beans have been used for centuries, starting with the Romans. Currently, they are common culinary ingredients in the cuisine of Portugal, Egypt, Greece, and Italy, and Brazil. They are eaten as salted snacks, as well as in meal and pastry preparations. Lupin is high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants, and low in starch and completely gluten-free.
Then why is there a warning label that products may contain lupin?
Evidently, if you have a peanut allergy, the risk of you having a lupin allergy is very common. That’s why in 2006 the European Commission mandated that any food products containing lupin be labeled with a warning.
What’s more, the “Lupin Challenge” is using the reactivity of the legume to further research on allergies.
“Gaining knowledge on lupin’s specific molecular allergy will contribute to strategies to improve clinical trials, allergy diagnosis, and breeding allergenic-reduce lupin lines,” says Dr Jiménez-López. “And beyond this three-year project, the longer-term development and commercialisation of patented diagnosis kits and allergy vaccines, based on the results from this project, could also have important economic and social benefits.”
See project details here: Lupin Challenge