Kumquat is a fruit in the Rutaceae
family of plants, making it a lesser known citrus fruit. Other plants in this family include lemon, limes, oranges and grapefruits.
The peel of most citrus fruits contains limone which is associated with contact allergic dermatitis. Limonene is a well known skin irritant - so may cause sufferers to react to the skin whilst being able to eat or drink the fruit.
There is an increasing amount of research into citrus seed allergy - it has been suggested that some allergic reactions have been triggered not by the fruit or peel, but by accidental consumption of the seeds. These allergic reactions may be triggered by proteins found in more commonly eaten seeds (like sunflower and pumpkin seeds) - seed storage proteins
Like other citrus fruits kumquat contain furanocoumarins
. These chemicals can get on the skin and in combination with ultraviolet light (sunlight) can cause a sunburn like rash. Furanocoumarins are found in higher concentrations in fresh herbs and are natural irritants which can cause allergic contact dermatitis. This is more common in occupations where you are frequently coming into contact with the food, like chefs, cooks, growers and pickers.
Other citrus fruits are low FODMAP foods. FODMAP
stands for F
olyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Kumquat allergy is linked to allergic contact dermatitis.
Eating kumquats is also associated with phytophotodermatitis. This is a skin condition that occurs when a person gets the juice from the fruit on the skin and doesn't wash it off. The furocoumarins in the juice of the fruit are activated by the sun and cause an itchy rash on the skin.
Other foods in the Rutaceae
family of foods are grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, sichuan pepper and tangerines. If allergic to one of these you may want to avoid eating foods from this list. Citrus fruits are all in the Citrus
genus of plants (with the exception of the sichuan pepper), so are very closely related.
Note that these food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.
Science Direct - Kumquat
Healthline - FODMAP Foods
NY Allergy & Sinus Centers - Citrus Allergy
Articles and Journals
Eating with peel or not: Investigation of the peel consumption situation and its nutrition, risk analysis, and dietary advice in China, 2023
Limonene and linalool hydroperoxides review: Pros and cons for routine patch testing, 2022
Food allergy in infants assessed in two German birth cohorts 10 years after the EuroPrevall Study, 2021
Headspace volatolome of peel flours from citrus fruits grown in Brazil, 2021
Lemon seed allergy: a case presentation, 2020
Cosensitization to fruit seeds in children with positive cashew nut and/or pistachio skin prick tests, 2020
Anaphylaxis to Pericarpium Zanthoxyli and Its Cross-Reactivity Between Nuts and Citrus, 2016
Allergy to citrus juice, 2013
Citrus Allergy from Pollen to Clinical Symptoms, 2013
Anaphylaxis to lemon soap: citrus seed and peanut allergen cross-reactivity, 2007
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