Allergy To Food Contaminated With Storage Mite Allergens

There are more than 60 000 mite species, some of which are sources of allergens that can cause allergic reactions. The most frequently reported symptoms of storage mite allergy are nasal discharge, nasal itching, sneezing, sensitivity to light, and watery/itchy eyes. Cough, difficulty breathing and wheezing are less frequent. In some people storage mite allegens may cause serious allergic reactions and anaphylactic shocks. This type of food allergy to mite ingestion was reported in various countries, including the United States. Intake of NSAIDs sometimes enhances immediate reactions in anaphylaxis.2

The most frequent allergy-causing are house dust mites. Mite feces are the major source of house dust allergens. These organisms produce about 20 sets of feces in a day, and 20% of their body are fecal extract particles.

Storage mites (Glycyphagus, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, Acarus siro and Lepidoglyphus destructor) are widely found in stored food products, including dog food, and are responsible for the development of respiratory allergic diseases such as rhinitis and asthma in farmers, grain workers, bakers, other food workers, and people working with laboratory animals.

The mites feed on protein-rich substances of animal or vegetable origin. They can be indispensable for the development of the typical aroma of certain products such as Italian ham where the arthropods settle on the thin layer of white mold and feed on it. They are also found in dairies, grain silos, cultivated mushrooms and grocery stores.

Mite-contaminated foods are usually prepared with wheat and/or corn flour, including pancakes, sponge cakes, pizza, pasta, bread, white sauce, beignets, cornmeal cakes, and polenta. Other foods that can be contaminated with mites when stored for long periods at room temperature are cheese, ham, chorizo, and salami. Many cooked mite-contaminated foodstuffs are able to induce allergic reactions.

Tyrophagus putrescentiae storage mite


  1. Work-related allergies to storage mites in Parma (Italy) ham workers. Federica Tafuro et al.
  2. Cross-reactivity between aeroallergens and food allergens. Florin-Dan Popescu

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