Exposure to antibiotics on blueberries leads to severe reaction

Photo credit: Fiona Henderson Photo credit: Fiona Henderson

A recent report published by Canadian doctors in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology details the case of a 10-year-old girl who was admitted to the emergency room for a severe allergic reaction. After eating blueberry pie, the girl broke out into hives and experienced abnormal breathing. Surprisingly, tests revealed that the patient was not allergic to any of the food ingredients in the pie but had, in fact, reacted to an antibiotic. Although the exact type of antibiotic could not be identified, doctors believe that streptomycin, an antibiotic commonly applied to conventionally grown fruits as a pesticide, was the likely culprit. The authors note that this incident along with previously reported cases of allergic reactions to antibiotics used in beef and milk make an argument for increasing regulations on antibiotic use in the United States and Canada.