Family First: European ingredient could be added to Gluten free foods

Family First: European ingredient could be added to Gluten free foods

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Most of us know about Gluten allergies, but did you know manufacturers of Gluten free products could be substituting one allergen for another? An allergen that could be dangerous, even deadly for certain people.

15-year-old Orion has had a peanut and tree nut allergy nearly all his life.

"When he was about 18-moths-old I gave him his first peanut butter and jelly sandwich and he immediately began to break out in kind of a hive around his face," says his mother Kelley Lindberg.

Just as they were about to go to Europe, his mother was alerted to another potentially serious allergen called lupin. Orion was allergic to that too.

"I was not expecting to be going to Italy where he would be allergic to an ingredient in pasta and pizza," says Lindberg.

While lupin has been used in European products for years now, it is making its way to the United States as a flour alternative in Gluten free foods. Many people don't know that it is a legume from the same plant family as the peanut.

Dr. David Stukus of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says the risk is serious for some people.

"There are case reports of people having severe life threatening anaphylactic reactions to lupin, both people who have a history of pre-existing peanut allergy and others who are eating peanut just fine," says Dr. Stukus.

Other symptoms of an allergic reaction to Lupin are: hives, swelling of the lips/face, GI distress, respiratory issues, even cardiovascular collapse.

The Food and Drug Administration recently put out a statement on its website and is currently monitoring complaints.

"With the growth of the gluten free market, we're going to see more products with lupin in them coming into this country," says Stefano Luccioli, Senior Medical Advisor with the FDA.

While in Europe, lupin is required to be listed on food products as a potential allergen, right now the US only requires that it be listed as an ingredient.

"It's a little early to think that lupin is a significant cause of allergen in the United States to actually put an allergy warning on there. However, people who have pre-existing food allergy, especially peanut allergy, should be aware to read labels," says Dr. Stukus.

Orion's mom reads labels, but she is still concerned.

"What worries me is that we will do it like Europe does and start blending it into regular flours, not just keeping it for a gluten free market and start blending it into regular flours," says Lindberg.

The FDA wants to stress that for the majority of people, lupin is considered safe and nutritious. It is only a problem for those who are allergic.

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved.