Have you heard of Lupin? The Forgotten Allergen

If you are in the food business industry, the first thing you are trained on is the law around allergens, and for most, reciting all 14 allergens off by heart is an applaudable task. However, there is one allergen most people get stuck on which is LUPIN; an obscure allergen and a relatively new phenomenon. Lupin doesn’t have the same awareness as many other food allergies and for most of us we do not come across Lupin in the food we consume.


What is Lupin?

We associate Lupin with the lovely popular garden flower with its tall, colourful spikes. The seeds from some varieties of lupin are also cultivated as food. These are normally crushed to make lupin flour, which can be used in baked goods such as pastries, pies, pancakes and in pasta. Lupin is also related to peanut and soybean, which are legumes. Some people who are allergic to peanuts or soy may also be allergic to lupin.


Like other pulses and grains, lupin is now becoming more widely used in different products. Lupin is very nutritious as it has a high amount of protein and fibre, low in fat and gluten free. Food manufacturers are also using lupin more commonly as a food additive in processed foods and with the increase need of gluten free flours, Lupin is an ideal candidate; but are consumers aware and do they recognise Lupin as a potential allergen?

As the consumption of lupin is increasing, so is the potential for lupin allergy


Symptoms Triggered by Lupin

The symptoms of a food allergy, including lupin allergy usually, come on rapidly. Mild symptoms may include nettle rash (otherwise known as hives or urticaria) anywhere on the body, or a tingling or itchy feeling in the mouth. More serious symptoms are uncommon but remain a possibility for some people. These may include:

·      Swelling in the face, throat and/or mouth

·      Difficulty breathing

·      Severe asthma

·      Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.


In extreme cases there could be a dramatic fall in blood pressure (anaphylactic shock). The person may become weak and floppy and may have a sense of something terrible happening. This may lead to collapse and unconsciousness.


UK Allergen Labelling Guide and the Consumer

The new allergen law in the UK come into force in October 2021 and will require businesses to provide full ingredient and allergen labelling on foods which are pre-packed for direct sale. This will enable consumers with allergies and intolerances more informed choices. Allergens will still be displayed in Bold so the consumer can easily distinguish if an allergen is present. The displaying of ingredients will become mandatory in October through Natasha’s Law, with allergen checking becoming much easier for the consumer.

For the food business operator, while there is an obvious need to use ingredients that some people are allergic to; they should absolutely make it their duty to label the foods correctly, so their customers can make informed choices on the food they’re eating.

Allergen Checker is an ideal tool for any food business operator to comply with the new allergen labelling laws in the UK.



Anaphylaxis campaigns – lupin