Poppy Seed Allergy Test
Latin name: Papaver somniferum
Source material: White & blue seeds
Common names: Poppy, Opium poppy, Blue bread seed poppy, White poppy
Poppy seed is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Poppy Seed Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
The poppy is a wildflower which is native to south eastern Europe and western Asia, but is also widely cultivated across Asia and in Central and South America, principally for its seeds. As well as being used as a food additive and flavouring, the seeds are the primary source of the drugs opium, morphine and heroin, which are controlled substances in the majority of countries although widely used recreationally as well as medicinally.
As a foodstuff, poppy seeds can be used either raw or cooked. They are used as flavouring in cakes, bread, fruit salads, etc. When crushed and sweetened, the seeds are used as a filling in crêpes, strudels, and other pastries.
While the seeds are perfectly safe to eat and have no narcotic effect, they have been reported to cause false positives on drug tests targeting opiates.
Poppy seed is sometimes used as a colouring in cough syrups and other products.
Poppy seed can be a hidden allergen, as its presence as an ingredient is not always apparent. The same can be said for the oil, which is used for lighting, and in the manufacture of paints, varnishes, and soaps.
Poppy Seed Allergy Test: Allergen Description
Three key allergens present in poppy seed have been isolated, including a profilin and a Bet v 1 homologue.
Poppy Seed Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus and family, including the Californian poppy, the Mexican poppy and celandine, could be expected.
Poppy seed contains homologues of Bet v 1 and profilin, which indicates the possibility of cross-reactivity with other plants containing these panallergens.
Allergy to kiwi, poppy seeds, and/or sesame seeds has been reported to occur often in patients with a simultaneous sensitisation to nuts and flour.
Poppy Seed Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Poppy seed commonly induces symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals, and it has been suggested that the prevalence of this allergy is increasing alongside the growth in popularity of poppy seed as an ingredient.
Allergic reactions range from mild local symptoms to severe anaphylactic reactions, and may involve the gastrointestinal, respiratory or skin systems.
One patient who experienced an immediate-type hypersensitivity reaction against poppy seed described symptoms of swelling of the oral mucosa, vomiting, respiratory distress, and urticaria.
Anaphylaxis and food-dependant exercise-induced anaphylaxis have been reported.
Inhalation of poppy seed resulting in erythema, angioedema, conjunctivitis, and dyspnoea has been described.
Allergic contact dermatitis and contact urticaria have been reported to closely related family members, including the Icelandic poppy.
This plant contains a number of very toxic compounds, many of which are extracted and used as pain killers, etc. They are also used to make various narcotic drugs.
Reactions have also been reported to poppy shells, which contain the seeds.
Because the International Olympic Committee has set a cut-off for morphine at 1 µg/ml, athletes could potentially fail drug testing after consumption of products containing poppy seeds, even though the concentration of morphine is too low to have a narcotic effect.