Biogenic amines in foods: histamine and food processing

Inflamm Res. 1999 Jun;48(6):296-300. doi: 10.1007/s000110050463.


Biogenic amines, e.g. histamine, occur in many different foods. At high concentrations, they are risk factors for food intoxication, whereas moderate levels may lead to food intolerance. Sensitive persons, with insufficient diamine oxidase activity, suffer from numerous undesirable reactions after intake of histamine containing foods. Besides spoiled foodstuffs, especially fermented foods tend to contain elevated levels of biogenic amines, although their concentrations vary extensively not only between different food varieties but also within the varieties themselves. High histamine content in foods and beverages result from microbial contamination. The evidence of enteral histaminosis represents a challenge for the food industry to produce foods with histamine levels as low as possible. We therefore investigated critical steps for histamine formation during food production processes, and established production methods that include low-histamine technology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Food Analysis*
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Histamine / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Wine / analysis


  • Histamine