Q:

6/23/2014
Are there any references to an allergic reaction to Truffle oil?

A:

Thank you for your inquiry.

In short, to my knowledge and according to a literature search, the answer to your question is "no." Food allergy has been reported to mushrooms (1-4), and theoretically of course there could be crossreactivity between mushrooms and truffles. However, there are no studies on such crossreactivity, and no reported cases to the best of my knowledge of allergy to truffles per se.

Also, I might mention parenthetically that truffle oil is actually, in many cases, olive oil. It would be important to look at the truffle oil that the patient ingested because its major content might be olive oil, and allergic reactions have been reported to olives as well as to olive oil (5, 6).

In summary, I am not aware of any anaphylactic reactions to truffles or truffle oil and could find no evidence for such in the literature. Hypothetically, since anaphylaxis to mushrooms has occurred, and there theoretically could be crossreactivity between truffles and mushrooms, one could suppose an anaphylactic reaction to truffles could occur. However, such reactions, if they do occur, must be extremely rare.

Finally, I would look at the truffle oil the patient ingested because many times oils labeled as "truffle oils" have olive oil as their major ingredient. Most truffle oils are synthetic products that contain 2, 4-dithiapentane which emits an odor similar to that which is emitted from truffles contained in olive oil or grapeseed oil base. Anaphylactic reactions to grapeseed oil have occurred as well (7). Thus, as noted, it would be important for you to look at the oil in question and also determine whether the patient had experienced any allergic reactions to olives, grapes, or their oils.

Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.

References:
1. Helbling A, Bonadies N, Brander KA, Pichler WJ. Boletus edulis: a digestion-resistant allergen may be relevant for food allergy. Clin Exp Allergy 2002;32(5):771-5.

2. Koivikko A, Savolainen J. Mushroom allergy. Allergy 1988;43:1-10.

3. Herrera I, Moneo I, Caballero ML, de Paz S, Perez Pimiento A, Rebollo S. Food allergy to spinach and mushroom. Allergy 2002;57(3):261-2.

4. Ho MH, Hill DJ. White button mushroom food hypersensitivity in a child. J Paediatr Child Health 2006;42(9):555-6.

5. Feo Brito F, Mur Gimeno P, Bartolomé B, Castro A, Guerra F. Anaphylaxis due to olive fruit after pollen immunotherapy. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2011; 21(2):160-1

6. Pineda F, Palacios R, Vilella R, Pascal M, Bartra J. Anaphylactic reactions caused by oil body fraction lipoproteins. Allergy. 2011 May; 66(5):701-2. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

7. Cardinale F, Berardi M, Chinellato I, Damiani E, Nettis E. A child with anaphylaxis to grapes without reaction to grape seed oil. Allergy. 2010 Jun 1;65(6):800-1. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02247.x. Epub 2009 Nov 2. No abstract available.

Sincerely,
Phil Lieberman, M.D.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology