Can You Be Allergic to Potatoes?

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Potato is a commonly used ingredient around the world. An allergy to potato is rare, but allergies have been reported.

This article will discuss the symptoms of potato allergy, causes, risk factors, tests, diagnosis, and tips for living with potato allergy.

Child peels potato

Daniel Llaó Calvet / EyeEm / Getty Images

Symptoms of Potato Allergy

People with an allergy to potato may experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Tingling and/or itching in the mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • A rash or hives
  • Problems swallowing
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Shortness of breath

Though rare, severe allergy to potato can cause an anaphylactic reaction—a severe, life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction. The symptoms of anaphylaxis may come on suddenly and rapidly worsen.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include those of a milder allergic reaction but also progress to:

  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Difficulties speaking
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Collapse

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of food allergies is unknown, but certain risk factors may make a person more susceptible to developing an allergy to foods.

Those with a parent or sibling with an allergic condition like a food allergy, eczema (an inflammatory skin condition), or asthma (a chronic condition of inflamed and constricted airways) are at an increased risk of developing a food allergy. All members of a family may not be allergic to the same food.

People who had eczema in their early childhood years are more likely to develop an allergy to food than people without childhood eczema.

There has been an increase in the number of people living with food allergies in recent decades. The exact reason for this is unknown, but scientists hypothesize this may be due to a change in children's diets during the past few decades.

The increase is also possible due to children being raised in low-germ environments and not having early exposure to germs.

Diagnosis and Tests

In seeking a diagnosis, you can start by reporting your symptoms to a primary care provider, who will refer you to a specialist. Testing and diagnosing a food allergy is typically done by an allergist, a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating allergic conditions.

To reach a diagnosis of food allergy, an allergist may order a variety of allergy tests.

Skin Prick Test

A skin prick test is performed in a healthcare provider's office. During this test, a healthcare provider places a small amount of allergen on the back or arm. The skin is then pricked, allowing some of the allergen to get under the skin.

The skin is then observed. A raised red bump that develops where the skin was pricked is considered a positive result.

Blood Test

In some cases, a blood test may be ordered to check for allergies. An IgE (immunoglobulin E) blood test measures the amount of IgE antibodies in the blood. Unlike skin prick tests, where results are available within 15–30 minutes, the results of a blood test may take weeks. Blood tests are less sensitive than skin prick tests.

Living With Potato Allergy

There is no cure or treatment for allergies, and living with an allergy to a food like potato requires management.

Foods to Avoid

Those with an allergy to potato should strictly avoid potato or any product containing potato.

In those with a severe allergy, even eating a small amount of potato, such as that from a cooking surface that previously held potato, can be enough to cause anaphylaxis.

It is important for people with a food allergy to carefully read labels when buying food, as potato may be an unexpected ingredient.

When dining out, it is also a good idea to ask questions about the ingredients in meals.

Alternatives to Potatoes

Potatoes feature in a number of meals and are a popular side dish. But there are alternatives for people who can't eat potato, including:

  • Instead of potato hash browns, try grating a butternut squash.
  • Instead of mashed potato, try cauliflower mash.
  • Brown rice, quinoa, or couscous can be a tasty side dish instead of potato.


An allergy to potato is rare but possible. Those with an allergy to potato may experience various symptoms, including a rash, nausea, difficulty swallowing, and sneezing. A severe allergy to potato can lead to anaphylaxis.

The exact cause of food allergies is unknown, but having an immediate family member with an allergic condition increases the risk of a food allergy. An allergist may diagnose a potato allergy through a skin prick test or blood test.

Living with an allergy to potato requires strict avoidance of potato, reading labels, and choosing alternatives to potato.

A Word From Verywell

If you think you have an allergy to potato, consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider. It's useful to keep a food diary to record what you are eating and any symptoms you have. With a provider, you'll be able to discuss your concerns, including what you've learned by keeping a food diary, and be advised on what to do next.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are potatoes high in histamine?

    The majority of fresh fruits and vegetables are low in histamine. Potatoes may be eaten as part of a low-histamine diet.

  • What are the main allergens in potatoes?

    Studies suggest the main allergens found in potatoes come from proteins. One protein that is believed to contribute to a potato allergy is patatin.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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