Key Allergens

Courgette is also known as zucchini in the USA, but is also known as marrow and summer squash. Courgettes are in the Cucurbitaceae family of plants which includes cucumber, melon and watermelon.

Courgettes are grown from the plant Cucurbita pepo, a subspecies of this plant also grow pumpkins and gourds. They are rarely documented as causing food allergies.

For those that do experience allergies after consuming courgette the allergens responsible are thought to be plant profilins.

Food Intolerances

Food is high in sulphites Food is high in salicylates Food is medium in lectins Food is low in FODMAP

When pickled, courgettes/zucchini are high in sulphites. Sulphites are inorganic salts used in preservations and have the potential to cause symptoms of food intolerance to those sensitive to sulphites, this food intolerance is more common in asthmatics. An improvement in symptoms can be made with a change to a low sulphite diet.

Courgette is a food high in salicylates. Salicylates have the potential to cause worsening of asthma, swelling, itching and hives as well as food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

Courgette is one of the few vegetables to contain a moderate amount of lectins, another cause of food intolerance. Cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance.

You can read more about Food Intolerances on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.

Associated Syndromes

Allergy to courgette has been linked to Latex Food Syndrome, this is caused by the body confusing the proteins it encounters in food to that of latex proteins to which it is already sensitised.

Courgette allergy is also linked to Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome for people who suffer from grass allergies. This is where is the body confuses allergens it is sensitised in grass to those it finds in foods.

Cross Reactivity

Those with a sensitivity to latex may have linked allergies to foods which contain high levels of chitinase, like avocado, chestnuts, corn (maize), kiwi, papaya, pomegranate and tomatoes.

If suffering from Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome you may suffer allergy to grass pollen, pumpkins, cucumber and melons.



Allergen Encyclopedia - Pumpkin

DermNet NZ - Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome

Anaphylaxis Campaign - Allergy to Vegetables

Allergy information for: Courgette, zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)

Science Direct - Profilin

Salicylate Sensitivity: Causes, Symptoms and Foods to Avoid

Articles and Journals

Hand and Foot Dermatitis Secondary to Zucchini Exposure, 2024

Current and future perspectives on the consensus guideline for food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), 2024

A Review on the Journey of edible flowers from farm to consumer's plate, 2023

An unusual case of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome due to zucchini, 2022

Dietary Lectins: Gastrointestinal and Immune Effects, 2020

Molecular approach to a patient’s tailored diagnosis of the oral allergy syndrome, 2020

Food processing and occupational respiratory allergy‐ An EAACI position paper, 2019

Is fruit and vegetable intake associated with asthma or chronic rhino-sinusitis in European adults? Results from the Global Allergy and Asthma Network of Excellence (GA2 LEN) Survey, 2017

Medicinal bioactivites and allergenic properties of pumpkin seeds: review upon a pediatric food anaphylaxis case report, 2017

A case of allergy to Zucchini, 2012

Turnip and zucchini: New vegetables responsible for crossreactivity between latex and plant-derived foods, 2006

Allergens in celery and zucchini, 2002

Allergy caused by ingestion of zucchini (Cucurbita pepo): characterization of allergens and cross-reactivity to pollen and other foods, 2000

Latex allergy: clinical features and cross-reactivity with fruits, 1994

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