Anaphylactic reactions to ingested carmine (E120)


Prof. B. Wüthrich, MD Allergy Unit Department of Dermatology University Hospital Gloriastrasse 31 CH-8091 Zurich Switzerland


We report five cases of anaphylactic reaction to carmine (cochineal. E120) after patients drank an alcoholic beverage. By means of positive skin prick tests (SPT) and positive RAST to carmine, IgE-mediated sensitization could be established. One nonalopic patient showed also a great amount of serum IgE antibodies to the carmine acid-albumin conjugate. Due to its widespread use in the food and cosmetic industry, carmine should be tested in the allergy work-up in case of allergic reactions after a drink or a meal.