List of Latex Allergy Foods to Avoid With Cross-Sensitivity

Natural rubber latex is a milky sap that comes from the Hevea brasiliensis rubber tree. Unlike the synthetic latex found in latex paint, it's this natural latex that can cause a latex allergic reaction.

If you have a latex allergy, you also may have a food allergy. That's because many foods, notably fruits, contain proteins that are similar to latex proteins. Your body's immune system responds to them in the same way, causing the cross-reactivity seen in what's known as latex-fruit syndrome.

This article explains why this cross-reactivity happens and how latex allergy foods are identified. It also lists some of the foods and latex products you'll need to avoid if you have a latex allergic reaction.

Four halves of avocados on wood background
Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images

What Is Latex?

Natural rubber latex (NRL) is a liquid harvested from the H. brasiliensis rubber tree, which grows in the Amazon rainforest. It is removed by cutting through the tree bark and tapping the plant. This type of latex is about 60% water and 40% rubber.

Keep in mind, though, that roughly 200 plants around the world are known to produce a "latex" liquid. In fact, given the health issues associated with latex allergic reaction, scientists are working to find NRL alternatives.

Among them is Hancornia speciosa, which shows some promise in wound care. H. speciosa has notably fewer proteins linked to allergic reaction than NRL does.

Latex is used to make many products, such as foam rubber pillows or your mattress. It's found in some surprising places, which makes it all the more important to know the risks of latex allergy.

List of Common Products

If you have a latex allergy and/or a cross-reactivity with latex allergy foods, then you likely want to know where you might find it—apart from the condoms or disposable gloves long linked to latex.

Some of the latex products you may encounter include:

  • Balloons
  • Toys
  • Rubber bands
  • Pencil erasers

Latex also is found in clothing, household items like garden hoses or bathmats, and computer gear like your mouse pad. Pacifiers and baby bottle nipples may contain latex. All told, some 40,000 products are made with latex all over the world.

Definition of Cross-Sensitivity

Natural rubber latex contains proteins that are responsible for triggering a latex allergic reaction. Similar proteins are found in many types of fruits and nuts. This means that if you have a latex allergy, you may experience allergic symptoms to certain foods (or vice versa) due to this cross-reactivity.

Latex Allergy Foods

A number of foods have been known to cross-react with latex. Some of these foods are more likely to be of concern than others, in terms of the cross-reactivity with latex. Although a number of these foods are listed here, the list is not exhaustive and new foods may be added.

Higher Risk Foods

Certain foods, such as chestnuts, are more likely to contain the proteins that can cause latex-fruit syndrome. About half of all people with a latex allergy may develop related symptoms if they eat:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Kiwi

Moderate Risk Foods

Some foods contain moderate levels of the protein that triggers latex allergy symptoms. They are:

  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Melon
  • Papaya
  • Tomato
  • Potato

Low Risk Foods

Other foods contain low or unknown levels of latex proteins. Or, the potential for a latex allergic reaction may still be under study, as is the case with jackfruit. These foods may include:

  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Sweet peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Chickpeas
  • Some herbs (dill, cayenne pepper, sage, oregano)

Jackfruit, or Artocarpus heterophyllus, is a tropical fruit often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian diets. There are reports of rare cases of anaphylaxis in people with latex allergies who ate jackfruit. Researchers say they hope to raise awareness about cross-reactivity.

Prevalence

Between 30% and 50% of people with a latex allergy also will have a positive allergy test to one or more foods. However, many of these positive skin tests do not necessarily mean that the person will experience allergic symptoms if the food is eaten.

The latex rash or food allergy symptoms seen with latex-fruit reactions can vary. They may include symptoms ranging from oral allergy syndrome to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Latex Allergy Reaction Signs and Symptoms

An allergic reaction to latex can range from a fairly mild, itchy latex rash on the skin, to the severe and systemic effects of a potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. The reaction can happen right away or you may experience a delayed response of up to 48 hours.

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms are similar to those seen with food allergy, especially if you are having a severe and immediate reaction. These symptoms are:

  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Itching, whether at the latex contact site or body-wide
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a true medical emergency that can be caused by latex exposure. Symptoms usually come on within an hour and can lead to low blood pressure, heart rate changes, and other signs of shock. Call 911 immediately. If you have an epinephrine auto-injector, use it or have someone help you if needed.

Diagnosis

If you have a known latex allergy, it is important that your healthcare provider evaluate you for the possibility of food allergy. They also may want to rule out other possible conditions that could be responsible for your symptoms, such as asthma.

In most cases, a food allergy is diagnosed by using skin tests. They include patch testing, which involves putting a small amount of the suspected allergen on a patch and placing it on the skin to watch for a reaction. The patch usually remains in place for 48 hours.

Your healthcare provider or allergy specialist may also try the “prick-prick” method. This means scratching the skin and then placing a drop of the fruit that may be linked to a latex allergy.

Treatment

There is no known treatment for a latex allergic reaction, so avoiding all latex is key. Due to the potential for severe food allergy symptoms as well, it's important to identify and avoid the fruits or other foods that cause your cross-reactivity.

Other recommendations for people with latex and food allergies include wearing a medical-alert bracelet and always carrying injectable epinephrine, such as an Epi-Pen.

Spina Bifida

Some people may be more at risk of latex allergies than others, including those diagnosed with spina bifida. That's because they've been exposed to latex through the many surgeries needed to treat their underlying condition since birth.

About 85% of people living with spina bifida survive well into adulthood, so there's a good chance they'll have to manage a latex allergy and any related food allergies. That means:

  • Avoiding all latex products and cross-reactive foods
  • Using a medical-alert bracelet or app
  • Keeping an injectable epinephrine pen nearby
  • Having a plan before an allergic reaction happens

Summary

People who have latex allergies often have a food allergy too, typically to fruits that have proteins similar to those found in natural rubber latex. This cross-reactivity means that they may have to avoid certain foods as well as latex products.

Avocado, banana, and kiwi are common fruits that can trigger this response. There are many other latex food allergies, though, so it's important to identify what's causing the allergy. Your healthcare provider or allergy specialist can help you to understand your diagnosis and its treatment.

In some cases, a latex food allergy can cause a life-threatening anaphylactic response. Seek medical care immediately if latex or a related fruit allergy causes sudden and severe symptoms.

A Word From Verywell

If you think you may have latex-fruit syndrome allergies, consider seeing an allergist. Get tested, and if you're diagnosed with these allergies, learn how to best manage your health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should you eat out if you have a latex food allergy?

    Dining out with a latex food allergy is possible but requires care. Keep in mind that food workers often wear gloves, which may introduce latex. Latex also may be airborne or may be present in materials used in the environment. Try a food allergy app, or check first with the restaurant or chain; many offer latex allergy information.

  • Can you eat any fruit with latex-fruit syndrome?

    It's possible, but there is much about latex allergy that remains unknown. Keep in mind that cross-reactivity often occurs within a "family" of foods. A peach allergy, for example, may also mean you are allergic to apples, apricots, plums, or cherries. They're all within the same Rosacaean fruit family. You may want to try lower-risk fruits, such as strawberries, and let your healthcare provider or allergist know.

  • What can parents do to help children with cross-sensitivity to latex products?

    About 10% of people who have a fruit allergy are also cross-reactive to latex. If that's the case for your child, you'll want to know more about other sources of latex they may encounter, like the glue on envelopes or the chairs they sit in. Latex-free school products and sports equipment are available. Be sure that you and your pediatrician share age-appropriate information about latex allergy and latex products with your child.

Was this page helpful?
12 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.
  1. Nucera E, Aruanno A, Rizzi A, Centrone M. Latex Allergy: Current Status and Future PerspectivesJ Asthma Allergy. 2020;13:385-398. doi:10.2147/JAA.S242058

  2. Suksup R, Imkaew C, Smitthipong W. Cream concentrated latex for foam rubber products. 2017 IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 272 012025

  3. Costa AF, Gonçalves KC, Bailão EFLC, et al. Hancornia speciosa serum latex fraction: a non-allergenic biomaterial. Braz J Biol. 2023;83:e251075.

  4. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Latex allergy.

  5. Allergy & Asthma Network. Latex Allergy.

  6. Chełmińska M, Specjalski K, Różyło A, Kołakowska A, Jassem E. Differentiating of cross-reactions in patients with latex allergy with the use of ISAC test. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2016;33(2):120–127. doi:10.5114/ada.2016.59154

  7. Jalil M, Hostoffer R, Wu SS. Jackfruit anaphylaxis in a latex allergic non-healthcare workerAllergy Rhinol. 2021;12:215265672110091. doi: 10.1177/21526567211009195

  8. De Martinis M, Sirufo MM, Viscido A, Ginaldi L. Food Allergy Insights: A Changing LandscapeArch. Immunol. Ther. Exp. 68, 8 (2020). doi: 0.1007/s00005-020-00574-6

  9. Fischer D, Vander Leek TK, Ellis AK, Kim H. AnaphylaxisAllergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2018;14(S2):54. doi:10.1186/s13223-018-0283-4

  10. Johnston GA, Exton LS, Mohd Mustapa MF, et al. British Association of Dermatologists' guidelines for the management of contact dermatitis 2017. Br J Dermatol. 2017;176(2):317-329. doi:10.1111/bjd.15239

  11. Meneses V, Parenti S, Burns H, Adams R. Latex allergy guidelines for people with spina bifida. J Pediatr Rehabil Med. 2020;13(4):601-609. doi:10.3233/PRM-200741

  12. University of Nebraska Food Allergy Research and Resource Program. Allergenic Foods and Their Allergens.

Additional Reading
  • Nguyen K, Kohli A. Latex allergy. [Updated 2019 Jul 29]. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan.