An Italian woman suffered a life-threatening anaphylactic shock – after drinking a flavoured beer that contained coriander.
In the world’s first ever case, doctors revealed just a sip of the beer triggered the unnamed woman’s allergic reaction.
The 29-year-old has now been told to avoid eating coriander, amid fears she could have another anaphylactic shock.
Doctors have now warned of the dangers of adding aromatising spices in food and drinks, which can be ‘hidden allergens’ for some people.
Anaphylactic shock, known medically as anaphylaxis, is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can kill within minutes.
In the world’s first ever case, doctors revealed just a sip of the beer triggered the unnamed woman’s allergic reaction (stock)
It is most commonly triggered by those allergic to peanuts and shellfish. But in rarer cases, some medicines, bee stings and even latex in condoms can be responsible.
Coriander has in the past been known to cause anaphylaxis, normally to patients unaware of the spice hidden in teriyaki sauce.
But the new case, published in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports, is the first to describe the deadly reaction to coriander used in beer.
Doctors led by Professor Giovanni Rolla wrote the ingredient had been added to the beer as an ‘aromatising substance’.
They added: ‘The cases of beer anaphylaxis reported in the literature have been related more commonly to barley, hops, yeasts and in one case to wheat.
‘Spices are increasingly used with purpose of aromatising foods and beverages. As their presence is not always reported, they may be considered hidden allergen.
‘Coriander anaphylaxis is a rare occurrence, described in literature mostly in relation to occupational allergy or to ingestion as hidden allergen.’
Coriander seeds are sometimes used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian witbier and German Hefeweizens, the doctors said.
The woman, believed to be from Torino, had suffered anaphylaxis just minutes after taking just a sip of beer in September 2017.
WHAT IS AN ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK?
Anaphylaxis, also known as anaphylactic shock, can kill within minutes. It is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger, such as an allergy.
The reaction can often be triggered by certain foods, including peanuts and shellfish. However, some medicines, bee stings, and even latex used in condoms can also cause the life-threatening reaction.
According to the NHS, it occurs when the immune system overreacts to a trigger. It is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.
The symptoms are caused by the body’s immune system, which releases chemical substances, including histamine, when it detects an infection or something harmful.
Doctors controlled her sneezing, runny nose and difficulty breathing within an hour through antihistamines.
She was referred to the allergy unit at AO Ordine Mauriziano, her local hospital, two months later for a series of tests.
Medics were baffled as it was revealed the woman had not taken any medications and had no known allergies to food.
But the woman, an avid beer drinker, raised concerns that a specific brand of the beverage may have triggered her anaphylaxis.
On her next visit, she brought in a label of the bottle of coriander-infused beer she believed was the culprit of her potentially deadly reaction.
The beer wasn’t named. According to its label, it contained a mixture of Pils and Maris Otter malts, Magnum, Amarillo and Centennial hops.
Researchers at the University of Torino were drafted in by doctors to help get to the bottom of the woman’s bizarre allergy.
They contacted the craft brewery for more information about ingredients in the beer that may not be reported on the label.
The brewery, which is unidentified, declared coriander powder was present in the drink – but not in its list of ingredients.
Several tests confirmed the woman was allergic to coriander seeds, which were crushed to make a powder used in the beer.
No tests were needed to confirm if the woman was allergic to anything else in beer, as she had several non-flavoured beers from the brewery soon after.
Doctors equipped her with an autoinjector, which gives a shot of adrenaline to stop anaphylactic shock. And she was also urged to avoid eating coriander.