We know that people suffering from food allergies have to watch what they eat. Now, a study reveals that they may also have to watch what their fruits and vegetables eat because it is possible to have an allergic reaction to antibiotic residues in food.
Specifically, allergists examined the case of a 10-year-old girl who had a severely allergic reaction after eating blueberry pie. Even though she had a medical history of asthma and seasonal allergies as well as known anaphylaxis to penicillin and cows milk she was not known to be allergic to any of the pies ingredients.
Following weeks of testing the girl and a pie sample it was concluded that the reaction was caused by a streptomycin-contaminated blueberry. Streptomycin is used as a pesticide in fruit to combat the growth of algae, fungi and bacteria. It is also used as a drug to fight disease.
The case published in the September issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology also noted that new regulations from the Food and Drug Administration may help to reduce antibiotic contaminants in food, which will help reduce antibiotic resistance and may also help reduce this type of event.
As far as we know this is the first report that links an allergic reaction to fruits treated with antibiotic pesticides, said Anne Des Roches, MD, FRCP, allergist and lead study author. Certain European countries ban the use of antibiotics for growing foods, but the United States and Canada still allow them for agricultural purposes.
This is a very rare allergic reaction, added James Sublett, MD, allergist and ACAAI president-elect. Nevertheless, its something allergists and emergency room personnel may need to know about in order to help determine where anaphylactic reactions may arise. Anyone who is at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction should always carry epinephrine. They also need to know how to use their epinephrine in an emergency situation.