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Phadia’s F309 test is used to detect blood levels of the IgE (antibodies) responsible for allergic reactions to chickpeas. Chickpeas are part of the legume family and sensitivities (skin tests or positive IgE levels) with several other legumes (lentils, beans, green peas, soybeans, lupins) are the rule. However, allergic reactions to multiple legumes are more rare, including allergic reactions to peanuts, another legume. The interpretation chart accompanying the result expresses the probability of an allergic reaction to chickpeas, but not necessarily the severity of the reaction. Case history (symptoms, relation to meal composition, etc.) and clinical examination by the physician are essential for a reliable interpretation of the results.

A negative chickpea IgE result (< 0.35 kU/L) indicates that chickpeas are probably not responsible for the reported symptoms, but it DOES NOT COMPLETELY RULE OUT THIS POSSIBILITY. All negative and positive results must be interpreted in light of the case history. Skin tests may be useful to assist in diagnosis, but the double-blind oral food challenge remains the definitive technique for confirming any food allergy, including one to chickpeas.

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.