Asthma caused by green coffee beans and roasted coffee

  • Coffee industry
  • Coffee packer
  • Docker
  • Seed packer
Castor bean (Ricin), Coffee leaves, Green coffee beans, Hemileia vastatrix.
Incidence: approximately 10% of exposed subjects. The manner of conditioning the coffee is the critical factor (new or disposable sacks are necessary). Subject are almost always atopic. The asthma is typically IgE-dependent, but reactions of types III and IV may occur. There is a cross-antigenicity between coffee beans and castor beans (15 common antigens).
Packing and transport of sacks containing (green) coffee. Contamination of sacks by castor bean may be another cause of asthma. Green coffee beans and roasted coffee contain the same allergen but the levels are much lower in roasted coffee. A mould, Hemileia vastatrix, also known as coffee leaf rust, has been identified as a causative agent for asthma in coffee-producing regions
Classic asthma, may be severe, initially it subsides after stopping work but the condition can deteriorate. The symptoms are often accompanied by rhinitis, conjunctivitis and urticaria.
Diagnostic methods
IDR using a green coffee bean extract.
Immunological assay: RAST/CAP RAST green coffee bean.
Bronchial provocation test (in hospital) and clinical history are the two other means of diagnosis.
In the case of the mould Hemileia vastatrix, the mechanism is IgE dependent, but there is no commercially available skin test, nor assay for measuring these IgE.


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As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.