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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Assessment of Histamine Content in Foods

Authors
item McCabe Sellers, Beverly
item Staggs, Cathleen
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 28, 2005
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Citation: McCabe Sellers, B.J., Staggs, C.G., Bogle, M.L. 2005. Assessment of histamine content in foods [abstract]. Proceedings of 29th National Nutrient Databank Conference. Abstract No. 4, p. 2.

Technical Abstract: Objective: Few articles have addressed the histamine content of foods, although serious adverse events can occur with this biogenic amine (BA). Histamine is linked to cluster headaches, hypertensive crisis, food-drug interactions, and to potentially fatal histamine intoxication. Histamine is the only BA with a defined legal upper limit in foods (50'g/g). Biogenic amines are present in a wide variety of foods. The presence of high concentration of histamine is indicative of spoilage or degradation. Current animal research suggests that the presence of biogenic amines in the food matrix could increase susceptibility to potentially adverse effects on the human gut such as increased susceptibility to E.coli 0157:H7. Methods and Materials: A literature review resulted in a collection of previously published values for histamine content in foods to update guidelines in prevention. Results: Twenty-four articles reported histamine values. Out of 86 foods analyzed, 15% (n=13) had at or above the legal limit of histamine, 22% (n=20) had non-detectable levels of histamine and the remaining 63% (n=67) had detectable but safe levels. Histamine rich foods include fermented foods (e.g., cheeses, fish products, soy products) and meat and vegetables stored overlong or under improper temperatures. Significance: The most frequent adverse event associated with histamine is headaches; avoidance is the best prevention. Increased exposure to food contaminants and environmental pollution has potential adverse effects on gastrointestinal tract epithelial barrier. Biogenic amines in food may cause a host of pathophysiological reactions and pathogenesis of gastrointestinal diseases. More sensitive indicators to detect histamine in foods could avoid adverse health effects. This project was funded by USDA, ARS 6251-53000-004-00D.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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