Allergic reaction linked to residual antibiotics in food


Target Audience: Those with drug (antibiotic) allergy / hypersensitivity

Summary: This is an interesting case description investigating allergic reactions linked to residual antibiotics in food

Article Source: Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Published Date: September 2014

Article Link:

Content: Antibiotics are used globally within the food industry as growth promoters in meat, poultry and fish and is often used pesticides used in fruit orchards. Despite this, allergic reaction to antibiotic residues in foods is rare, with only a few published case report relating to antibiotics contained in milk and meats.

This report details a 10 year old girl who presented with anaphylaxis after eating a blueberry pie, likely caused by the ingestion of antibiotic-contaminated fruit. Tests on the patient showed she had a significant allergic reaction to the antibiotic streptomycin which is commonly used in orchards to treat bacterial infections of fruit.  While some European countries have banned the use of antibiotics for growth promotion the USA, Canada and Australia still allow antibiotic use in plants and animals, although are strict limitations do apply.

While further research is warranted to establish a scientific link between antibiotic residue in food and allergy it may be an important consideration in people with proven drug hypersensitivities, especially children, and highlights the need to wash fruit throughly before eating.

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