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Product liability: Gluten-free foods may contain lupine

For people who eat a gluten-free diet, there is a potential hidden danger that isn't evident from the label. The danger is in the form of lupine. Some of our Washington, District of Columbia, readers might be interested in reading about why lupine is a hidden danger.

Lupine is related to peanuts. It has the potential to cause anaphylactic reactions in people who are sensitive to the ingredient. Some people might suffer from only itchiness, but others can experience trouble breathing.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about lupine, but it isn't required to be labeled as an allergen in the United States. That's not the case in Europe, where lupine must be listed as an allergen. One board certified allergist remarked that he didn't know that lupine was an allergenic substance until recently.

With the popularity of gluten-free products, proper labeling is vital to ensure that consumers remain safe. The dangers of lupine, also known as lupin, have the potential to be too severe to ignore. Gluten-free foods contain lupine as a substitute for wheat flour, so it is common in these foods. It contains dietary fiber, protein and antioxidant, which makes it a healthy option for consumers who aren't sensitive to it or allergic to it.

For consumers who have unknowingly ingested lupine in gluten-free foods, the active monitoring of complaints by the FDA likely isn't bringing them any comfort if they suffer from a reaction. When these reactions are serious, medical bills can add up as the necessary treatment is sought. For those consumers, seeking compensation from manufacturers might be a suitable course of action. Knowing about this process can help consumers decide how to proceed with claims for compensation.

Source: CBS DC, "Gluten-Free Products Could Contain Harmful Ingredient" Nov. 12, 2014

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