When it comes to food allergies, peanuts sit at the top of the list. Physicians and other medical experts advise people that have a peanut allergy to always have an epinephrine injection readily available in the event it is needed. Auvi-Q®, EpiPen® and Adrenaclick® are the most common kinds of injectors one can have when preventing a reaction. If you are to avoid a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction, you should always read any labels present and avoid peanut products altogether.
Peanut allergies are usually a lifelong allergy, though 20% of the children who are diagnosed with this allergy will grow out of it. The number of instances of this allergy in children is rising. In the past decade, the number of U.S. children associated with peanut allergies tripled. Numbers in Canada and the UK also were on the rise.
Some people diagnosed with peanut allergies mistakenly think that they are unable to eat any type of nut. Tree nuts are not the same as a peanut. Tree nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds, etc.) come from trees and peanuts come from the ground (legumes). Recent studies do show, though, that 20 to 40 percent of people who have peanut allergies also suffer from tree nut allergies. There are some disagreements among people regarding whether or not those with peanut allergies will suffer a reaction simply from touching the peanut. There are very few cases where people have had allergic reactions from touching peanuts; however, if an affected person does handle peanuts and then touch their mouth, nose or eye, then the individual could have a serious allergic reaction. It is always best to exercise caution.
Helping You Avoid Peanuts
The FDA passed the FALCPA, or Food Allergen Labeling and Consumers Protection Act, which requires that every packaged food product that is sold in the U.S., containing peanuts or any other major food allergen, must list that allergen on the label. It is important that you read the label before purchasing any food to ensure you do not put your health, or the health of anyone you know, in danger.
Avoiding foods that contain peanuts / any of the following ingredients:
- Beer nuts
- Artificial nuts
- Extruded peanut oils
- Mixed nuts
- Mandelonas, which are peanuts that are soaked in almond flavoring)
- Ground nuts
- Peanut protein
- Nut meat
- Mixed nuts
- Peanut butter
- Monkey nuts
- Peanut flour
- Nut pieces
Peanuts are sometimes found in these items:
- Egg rolls
- Baked goods, like cookies and pastries
- Enchilada sauce
- Mole sauce
- Candy, like Baby Ruth and Hershey’s
A few unexpected sources of peanuts:
- Egg rolls
- Specialty pizzas
- Mexican, Asian and African dishes
- Sweets like baked goods, cookies, pies, hot chocolate, pudding
- Sauces ranging from hot sauce to pesto to mole sauce. Also includes salad dressing and chili sauce.
- Pet food
- Glazes and marinades
- Any food that contains cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil, which contains peanut proteins
- Vegetarian food products, especially meat substitutes
*Note: This is a list that highlights some examples of where peanuts have been found unexpectedly. It does not imply that peanuts are always found in these types of food or that no other food items contain peanuts which is why it is very important to look at each label to see the ingredients.
Keep these things in mind:
- Cross contamination in food is a very serious issue, especially within the food service industry. People who have food allergies should consider staying away from types of restaurants whose dishes frequently contain peanuts or peanut oils. These restaurant types include Indonesian, Vietnamese, Asian, African, Indian, Thai, Mexican and Chinese. Ice cream shops and bakeries should also be considered potentially dangerous to individuals with a severe peanut allergy.
- The FDA doesn’t consider highly refined peanut oil as an allergen. A series of studies show that many people that have allergies can, in fact, eat peanut oil (not the expelled, extruded or cold pressed kind). The only way to know for sure if peanut oil is safe for you is to contact your physician.
- Arachis oil is another name for peanut oil.
- Sunflower seeds are produced on the same equipment as peanuts.
- Alternative nut butters, like sunflower seed butter and soy nut butter, are produced on the same equipment as tree nuts and peanuts (in some cases).
- Peanuts are sometimes present in compost added to lawns. Before hiring a contractor ask about the use of peanut hulls in the compost.
Additional Information on Peanut Allergies
- Peanut Allergy Diet
- Tree Nut/Peanut Allergy Guidelines
- Common Food Allergy Q & A
- Peanut Allergy Dieting
- Food Allergen Fact Sheet
- New Hope for People who Suffer from Food Allergies?
- Peanut Allergies are on the Rise
- Children may Outgrow Allergies
- Managing Peanut Allergies in Schools
- General Guidelines for Peanut Allergies
- Peanut Allergies and its Consequence
- Peanut Perils
- The Science Behind Allergies and Peanuts
- Peanuts: The Perfect Storm of Allergies
- Tree Nut and Peanut Allergies
- What to do when your Child has a Peanut Allergy
- Everything you need to know about Peanut Allergies
- Definition, Causes, Risk Factors and Symptoms of Peanut Factors of Peanut Allergies
- Peanut Products Can Cause Severe Food Allergy Reaction