Food allergy and IgE sensitization caused by spices: CICBAA data (based on 589 cases of food allergy).Allerg Immunol (Paris) 2002; 34(4):135-40AI
Spices originate in various botanical families: Apiaceae, Lamiaceae, Lauraceae, Leguminosae, Liliaceae, Myristicaceae, Myrtaceae, Piperaceae, Solanaceae, Zingiberaceae....
Prick-tests to native spices have been carried out in patients suspected of food allergies to spices. The CICBAA data bank includes 589 cases of food allergies, a part of which has benefited from investigations for spices. Data about the rate of sensitization and food allergy are available.
Frequent sensitization to Apiaceae is observed: coriander, caraway, fennel, celery: 32% of prick-tests in children, 23% of prick-tests in adults. Sensitization to Liliaceae: garlic, onion, chive, is observed in 4.6% of prick-tests in children, 7.7% of prick-tests in adults. Rare cases of sensitization to paprika and saffron are recorded. Prick-tests to nutmeg, ginger and clove are currently negative. 10 food allergies related to the mugwort-celery-spices syndrome are reported: coriander: 1, caraway: 2, fennel: 3, garlic: 3, onion: 1. Food allergy to spices is unfrequent: 2% of the totality of food allergies. However, only adults are allergic to spices and allergy to spices accounts for 6.4% of food allergies in adults. Tiny amount of proteins are usually ingested. Patients at risk of spice allergy are young adults sensitized to mugwort and birch allergens, sharing cross-sensitization with various food vegetal allergens. The clinical suspicion raises from frequent post-prandial systemic reactions. Other allergens of vegetal origin have to be cleared. Diagnosis can be established by DBPCFC using powdered spices in capsules.