Black Pepper Allergy Test
Latin name: Piper nigrum
Source material: Dried seeds
Common names: Black pepper
Black pepper is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
NB: Black pepper is unrelated to, and should not be confused with, those members of the Capsicum family such as paprika, cayenne pepper, chilli pepper and red pepper. Additionally non-flavourant vegetables of the Solanaceae (potato) family may be called ‘peppers’, including the green pepper.
Black Pepper Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Pepper originates from the fruit of a perennial climbing vine, originally native to jungle areas of India, and has been used by humans for at least 3,000 years. It was an important commodity in the spice trade between Europe, South Asia and the East.
Three main varieties of true pepper exist. Black pepper is the slightly unripe fruit, which is dried. This spice is quite aromatic. White pepper is the same fruit, but harvested ripe and dried only after the hull is removed with the aid of soaking, it is more pungent but less aromatic than black pepper. Green pepper is harvested very early and pickled or freeze-dried. Because of its lack of ripeness, green pepper has only light pungency.
Peppercorn is marketed whole or ground. Black pepper is a spice with almost universal application, even in fruit cake and gingerbread. It is an ingredient in sauces, gravies, processed meats, poultry, and snack foods. Along with white pepper, it is also a table condiment.
White pepper is used whenever pungency takes predominance over pepper flavour. The flavour of white pepper has become popular in Japan, particularly in fried foods of the sukiyaki style.
Green pepper is often used in mustard or other condiments, as a garnish for cold foods, and on pepper steak and in sauces for other broiled or fried meats.
Black Pepper Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in black pepper have yet been characterised, although two major allergens have been detected, as well as several minor allergens.
Black Pepper Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
Cross-reactivity has been reported between green and black pepper and other foods and pollens involved in cross-reactivity in the “Mugwort-Celery-Spice-syndrome”.
Black Pepper Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Black pepper may uncommonly induce symptoms of food allergy or cutaneous allergy in sensitised individuals; but it is possible that the allergy occurs more frequently than has been reported.
Symptoms can include itching and smarting of the lips and mouth and in rarer cases anaphylaxis. Most allergic reactions produced by spices are the result of ingestion, and spices usually act as ‘hidden’ allergens. Spices as ‘hidden’ allergens are potentially very dangerous, because minute amounts can cause systemic reactions and even anaphylactic shock.
In a study conducted at 17 participating clinics in 15 European cities in order to describe the differences between some northern countries regarding what foods (according to the patients) elicit hypersensitivity symptoms, 1139 patients with a history of food hypersensitivity reported their experience of 86 foods using a questionnaire. Pepper was the 65th most common food to which adverse reactions were reported, affecting 7.3% of respondents.
Allergy to spices occurs more commonly in an occupational setting, in particular in the spice industry.
Besides allergens, spices contain a number of pharmacologically active and/or toxic compounds, which may cause irritation and inflammation leading to intolerance reactions; this should not be confused with food allergy.
Ground pepper may contain fillers. Anaphylaxis caused by buckwheat as an additional constituent in pepper has been reported.