Skip to main content

Red kidney bean poisoning in the UK: an analysis of 50 suspected incidents between 1976 and 1989

  • J. C. Rodhouse (a1), C. A. Haugh (a1), D. Roberts (a1) and R. J. Gilbert (a1)

Between July 1976 and February 1989, 50 incidents of suspected red kidney bean poisoning were reported in the UK. Nine incidents in which nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea developed within 1–7 h of ingestion, were confirmed by the detection of haemagglutinin in the beans. The diagnosis was made on a further 23 incidents on the basis of symptoms, incubation time and the description of preparation of beans prior to consumption. The haemagglutinin (lectin), which occurs naturally in the red kidney bean, is inactivated by thorough cooking of well soaked beans. In many of the outbreaks reported the implicated beans were consumed raw or following an inadequate heat process.

Hide All
1.Bender AE, Reaidi GB. Toxicity of kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) with particular reference to lectins. J Plant Foods 1982; 4: 1522.
2.Griebel C. Erkrankungen durch Bohnenflocken (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and Platterbsen (Lathyrus tingitanus L.) Z Lebensm Unters Forsch 1950; 90: 191.
3.Noah ND, Bender AE, Reaidi GB, Gilbert RJ. Food poisoning from raw red kidney beans. Br Med J 1980; 281: 236–7.
4.Todd E, Pivnick H, Pivnick K. Illness from kidney beans. Canada Diseases Weekly Report 1980; 6: No. 21: 101–3.
5.Tan A. Non-bacterial food poisoning. Communicable Diseases Intelligence (Australia) 1982; No. 6: 7.
6.Pusztai A. The role in food poisoning of toxins from plants. In: Robinson RK, ed. Developments in food microbiology - 2. London: Elsevier Applied Science Publishers 1986: 179–94.
7.Liener IE. Phytohaemagglutinins: Their nutritional significance. J Agr Food Chem 1974; 22: 1722.
8.Coffey DG, Uebersax MA, Hosfield GC, Brunner JR. Evaluation of the hemagglutinating activity of low-temperature cooked beans. J Food Sci 1985; 50: 7887.
9.Jaffe WG. Toxic proteins and peptides. In: Toxicants occurring naturally in foods, 2nd ed.Washington DC: National Academy of Sciences 1973; 106–29.
10.Perkins HA. Strategies for massive transfusion. In: Patz LD, Swisher SN, eds. Clinical practice of blood transfusion. New York: Churchill Livingstone 1981; 485–99.
11.Thompson LU, Rea RL, Jenkins DJA. Effect of heat processing on haemagglutinin activity in red kidney beans. J Food Sci 1983; 48: 235–6.
12.Liener IE. The photometric determination of the haemagglutinating activity of soyin and crude soybean extracts. Arch Biochem Biophys 1953; 54: 223–31.
13.Grant G, More LJ, McKenzie NH, Stewart JC, Pusztai AA. Survey of the nutritional properties of legume seeds available in the UK. Br J Nutr 1983; 50: 207–11.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 10 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 180 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th February 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.