Mustard is one of the 14 major food allergens in the UK which must be labelled and highlighted if included in food or drink products. Mustard comes in a variety of forms from mustard powder, mustard seeds, and the mustard we know in jars, such as Dijon mustard, English mustard, or Wholegrain mustard.
Consumers can have severe reactions ranging from asthma to anaphylaxis if they consume an ingredient they are allergic to or intolerant to.
Food companies must appropriately identify and display the 14 food allergens clearly and accurately in their goods.
Food producers and restaurants often include Mustard in sauces, marinades, soups, and many other food products. It is usually a hidden ingredient and may not be recognisable in smell, taste, or sight.
Businesses will and can face serious consequences if they do not follow allergen laws, click here for more information.
14 Main Food Allergens - Mustard
The mustard plant, which belongs to the Brassica family, produces mustard seeds which can be white, yellow, black, or brown. Brown and black seeds are stronger than white and yellow and are added to ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, salt and sometimes wine and turmeric are added.
Mustard can be labelled mild or hot depending on the seed combinations used to achieve heat strength but this is not essential when labelling food products. It’s simply important to note that mustard is contained in the recipe item or food/beverage product.
Mustard seeds can be processed into flour or powder and utilised in various cooking methods. While cooking with mustard, chefs and cooks can use whole seeds in a range of methods within food products such as marinating, roasting, or adding to pickled foods. Table mustard can be made by combining whole, powdered, cracked, or bruised mustard seeds with additional ingredients.
Mustard can also be used to thicken sauces and add flavour.
What is Mustard?
The classic jars of prepared mustard in supermarkets, such as Colman’s Mustard are made from ground mustard seeds (Colman’s blends both white and brown mustard seeds to form a mustard flour), mixed with vinegar, water, or other liquids.
The Colman’s popular recipe includes water, sugar, salt, wheat flour, turmeric (for the signature colour), citric acid and stabiliser (Xantham Gum).
Mustard Allergy Symptoms
According to the Anaphylaxis Campaign, the mustard allergy is considered rare in the UK although when it does occur, they are known to be severe. They advise that you speak to your GP (who can refer you to an allergen clinic) if you suspect you suffer from a mustard allergy as symptoms that start out mild can increase in severity over time.
Mustard allergy symptoms may appear quickly and can occur within a couple of minutes to a couple of hours. Mild symptoms include a tingly sensation in the mouth or urticaria or nettle rash on the body.
Mustard Varieties and Food Items that contain Mustard
Table mustards include dijon, English, American-style, Sweet mustard, Hot-dog mustard and wholegrain.
Other foods which may contain mustard are:
- Many sauces include mustard such as Tomato Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Barbeque, curry, honey mustard
- Vinaigrettes and other salad dressings
- Stock Cubes
- Pickled foods including pickled onions, pickles, gherkins
Allergic Reaction to Mustard
Food allergies to mustard is among the most severe. It can produce an increase in histamine and potentially anaphylactic shock if consumed. Itching, hives, and skin rash are the most typical symptoms of mustard allergy.
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