What is a banana allergy?
An estimated 0.1 – 1.2% of the population experience severe banana intolerance. Symptoms, such as swelling of the lips and tongue, wheezing, cramps and diarrhoea typically occur immediately or very soon after eating the fruit. Skin itching and rashes can also develop after touching the fruit or peel.
It’s thought that a banana allergy is not solely brought on by the fruit itself, but by the protein chitinase. This protein is also present in kiwi and avocado, so it’s not uncommon for sufferers of banana allergies to also react badly to these two fruits. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that latex may be a trigger to banana allergy sufferers, with around 45% of latex allergy sufferers also being allergic to bananas. This is due to the naturally occurring levels of chitinase in the rubber tree, the sap of which is used to make latex.