Living with a Peanut Allergy
Allergies to peanuts appear to be on the rise. One study showed that from 1997 to 2002, the incidence of peanut allergies doubled in children. Peanuts can trigger a severe reaction. The severity of a reaction depends on how sensitive the individual is and the quantity consumed.
Some Unexpected Sources of Peanut
- Sauces such as chili sauce, hot sauce, pesto, gravy, mole sauce, and salad dressing
- Sweets such as pudding, cookies and hot chocolate
- Egg rolls
- Potato pancakes
- Pet food
- Specialty pizzas
- Asian and Mexican dishes
- Some vegetarian food products, especially those advertised as meat substitutes
- Foods that contain extruded, cold-pressed, or expelled peanut oil, which may contain peanut protein
- Glazes and marinades
Keep in Mind
- Some alternative nut butters, such as soy nut butter, are produced on equipment shared with other tree nuts and, in some cases, peanuts. Contact the manufacturer before eating these products.
- Discuss with your primary doctor or allergist whether to avoid tree nuts. People allergic to peanuts may develop allergies to other foods, including tree nuts.
- Ice cream served in ice cream parlors should be avoided; cross-contact occurs frequently because of shared scoops.
- Sometimes foods that are supposed to contain almonds or other tree nuts contain peanuts instead.
- Peanuts go by many names, such as ground nuts, beer nuts, or monkey nuts.
- Studies show that most allergic individuals can eat peanut oil (not cold-pressed expelled, or extruded peanut oil – sometimes represented as gourmet oils). If allergic, check with your doctor first.
- Younger siblings of children allergic to peanuts may be at risk for allergy to peanuts.
- Peanuts can be found in many foods and candies, especially chocolate candy. Check all labels carefully.
- Peanuts can cause severe allergic reactions. If prescribed, carry epinephrine at all times.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can peanut allergy be outgrown?
Although once considered to be a lifelong allergy, recent studies indicate that up to 20% of children diagnosed with peanut allergy outgrow it.
Can alternative nut butters (i.e. cashew nut butter) be substituted for peanut butter?
Many nut butters are produced on equipment used to process peanut butter, therefore making it somewhat of a risky alternative. Additionally, many experts recommend peanut-allergic patients avoid tree nuts as well.
How to Read a Label for a Peanut-Free Diet
All FDA-regulated manufactured food products that contain peanut as on ingredient are required by U.S. law to list the word “peanut” on the product label.
Avoid foods that contain peanuts or any of these ingredients
Cold pressed, expeller pressed, or extruded peanut oil
Peanut protein hydrolysate
Peanut is sometime found in the follow
African, Asian (especially Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese), and Mexican dishes
Baked goods (e.g. pastries, cookies)
Candy (including chocolate candy)
Other things to keep in mind:
- Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond flavoring
- The FDA exempts highly refined peanut oil from being labeled as an allergen.
- A study showed that unlike other legumes, there is a strong possibility of cross-reaction between peanuts and lupine.
- Arachis oil is peanut oil
- Sunflower seeds are often produced on equipment shared with peanuts