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Summary

A 32-year-old female reacted with a contact urticaria syndrome after eating ‘gummy bears’ (fruit gums). The reaction began in the oral mucosa and led to treatment on an inpatient basis. RAST measurements with allergen discs produced with gelatine and gelatine-containing products (among them ‘gummy bears’) demonstrated the presence of IgE antibodies in the serum of this patient. Proteins with molecular weights in the range of 40–120 kD were identified as the allergens in gelatine by using Western blot analysis. RAST inhibition showed cross-reactivity between gelatine, gelatine-containing products and the modified gelatine used in some plasma substitutes. Allergic reactions towards coloured fruit candies and ‘gummy bears’ may result from an IgE-mediated hypersensitivity towards gelatine. The long-known anaphylactoid reactions towards gelatine-containing plasma substitutes may, at least in part, be of an allergic nature.