Latex Cross-Reactive Foods to Avoid With a Latex Allergy

Last updated: October 2022

A latex allergy is an allergy to sap from the rubber tree. This sap is used to make natural rubber, or latex, products. If you have a latex allergy, you are probably used to avoiding contact with certain things, like gloves or balloons. But there may be foods you should consider avoiding. About 30 to 50 percent of people with a latex allergy will also be sensitive to latex cross-reactive food.1,2

What is cross-reactivity?

A latex allergy is caused by the body's reaction to a specific protein contained in latex. Some fruits and vegetables have proteins that are similar to the latex protein. The body may not be able to tell the difference between these proteins. So, these similar proteins may trigger a reaction in people with latex allergies.2-4

This reaction is called cross-reactivity. The foods that trigger this reaction are called latex cross-reactive foods. You do not always need to eat the food to have a reaction. In some cases, holding or smelling the food will also trigger a reaction.2-4

What is latex-fruit syndrome?

The connection between latex allergies and food sensitivities is sometimes called latex-fruit syndrome. This name might be misleading. Many vegetables are also latex cross-reactive foods.2,4

What are the symptoms of eating latex cross-reactive foods?

Eating latex cross-reactive foods can cause discomfort. Symptoms of eating latex cross-reactive foods may include:3

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy skin or hives
  • Nausea

It is less likely that eating latex cross-reactive foods will cause serious health problems. But in rare cases, people can experience a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This reaction can cause your throat to swell closed and may need to be treated in an emergency room.3,5

However, anaphylaxis is a very rare reaction to eating latex cross-reactive foods. People who are at risk may have to carry an emergency epinephrine injector. If you experience a severe allergic reaction after eating something, call 9-1-1 in the United States or the emergency number in your country.3,5

What foods are latex cross-reactive?

The best way to manage a sensitivity to foods is to avoid them. But it can be difficult to determine which latex cross-reactive foods will affect you. More than 30 foods have been identified as latex cross-reactive foods. Also, not every person will react to the same foods.2-4

The foods most likely to be latex cross-reactive are:2

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Chestnuts
  • Kiwis

Other foods that are likely to be latex cross-reactive foods are:2

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Melons
  • Papayas
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Additional foods that are less likely to be latex cross-reactive are:2

  • Apricots
  • Pineapples
  • Grapes
  • Soybeans
  • Shellfish
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Pumpkin
  • Peppers
  • Citrus fruits
  • Eggplants

This is not a complete list of foods that can trigger a latex allergy. It is important to identify foods that may be triggers for you and try to avoid them. It is also possible that your sensitivities will change with time. Some people become more sensitive to latex cross-reactive foods the longer that they have a latex allergy.2-4

If you have concerns about latex cross-reactive foods, talk with your doctor. They may be able to help you identify triggers and make a plan for managing your sensitivity.2-4

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