Latex Food Syndrome Triggers and Treatment

Four halves of avocados on wood table
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In This Article

Do you have a known allergy to latex, and testing revealed a positive allergy to food? Or vice versa—are you allergic to certain foods, and your test revealed a positive allergy to latex?

If so, there is a simple explanation—it's called cross-reactivity.

Cross-Reactivity and Your Latex Fruit Allergy

There are similar proteins in natural rubber latex and certain foods (most types of fruit or nuts), so cross-reactivity can occur. This means that if you have a latex allergy, you may experience allergic symptoms to certain foods because those culprit foods have similar proteins to latex. Likewise, if you have an allergy to certain foods, you may experience allergic symptoms when coming into contact with latex.

The reactions to these certain foods that occur in people with latex allergy may include symptoms ranging from oral allergy syndrome to life-threatening anaphylaxis—so they are highly variable.

Prevalence

In those people with a latex allergy, between 30 percent and 50 percent will have a positive allergy test to one or more food. It appears that many of these positive skin tests do not necessarily mean that the person will experience allergic symptoms if the food is eaten.

Foods Known to Cross-React

The following foods have been known to cross-react with latex. The following is not an exhaustive list, as new foods are added frequently:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Papaya
  • Chestnut
  • Kiwi
  • Tomato
  • Celery
  • Pineapple
  • Apple
  • Melon
  • Potato
  • Eggplant
  • Passion Fruit
  • Mango
  • Cherimoya
  • Green Pepper

Diagnosis

In those people with a known latex allergy, it is important to evaluate for the possibility of food allergy to various fruits, including those listed above. This may involve skin testing using commercial extracts as well as the “prick-prick” method with the fresh fruit.

Treatment

Due to the potential for severe symptoms of food allergy, avoidance of the culprit foods is strongly recommended in those people with positive allergy tests. Other recommendations for people with latex and food allergies include obtaining a Medic-Alert bracelet and carrying injectable epinephrine, such as an Epi-Pen.

A Word From Verywell

The big picture here is to be aware of the potential foods that may cross-react with latex if you or a loved one has a known latex allergy. Seeing an allergist, getting tested, and discussing how you can best manage your latex-fruit syndrome (if diagnosed) is important.

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Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sampson HA et al. Food allergy: a practice parameter update-2014. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Nov;134(5):1016-25.e43. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.05.013

  2. 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

Additional Reading

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

  • Pollart SM, Warniment C, Mori T. Latex allergy. American Family Physician. 2009 Dec 15;80(12):1413-1418.