This article was written by Jeannie Nichols, Michigan State University Extension
Peanuts are among the world’s most allergenic foods. Peanuts can be found in many foods that you wouldn’t even think would have them.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of Americans with allergies or intolerances to certain foods is increasing. Only eight types of food account for about 90 percent of the allergic reactions: Cow’s milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soybeans and wheat.
There is no cure for a peanut allergy – at this time. The only way to prevent allergic reactions is to avoid all food and food products containing peanuts in any form.
Following are peanut allergy shopping tips from Michigan State University Extension:
- The inclusion of peanuts or peanut products in a food may be noted on the food label by less commonly known terms such as “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” or “groundnuts.” Peanuts may also be listed as peanut butter, peanut oil, goober peas, monkey nuts, artificial nuts, hydrolyzed peanut protein, mixed nuts, mandelonas (peanuts soaked in almond flavoring), beer nuts, goober nuts and peanut flour.
- Be diligent when reading labels – read lists of ingredients every time you shop. Ingredients often change without warning. Memorize the list of ingredients above, which could indicate the presence of peanut protein.
- Foods that may contain peanuts include: Cookies, chocolate bars, chili, eggrolls, Thai dishes, Satay sauces, prepared soups (especially packaged dried soup mixes), prepared and frozen desserts, hydrogenated oil, candy, protein bars, baked goods, Chinese food, potato chips, fried foods, salad dressings, macaroons, icing paste, almond paste, vegetable burgers, vegetable oil, vegetable chocolate from Europe and canned sardines.
- Generally, the less processing a food has undergone, the less likely it is to contain peanut protein. Highly processed foods with many ingredients are more likely to have had peanut added to them.
- Avoid imported foods with foreign language ingredient lists.
- Have a pad and pen with you when you shop. If you have a question about a product, write down the product name and the manufacturer’s phone number or address. Contact the manufacturer when you get home. Be direct. State that you have a food allergy and you need to know whether the product contains peanut protein.
- Avoid bulk bins. The scoop you use in the flour may have just come from the peanut bin.
Peanuts are the leading cause of fatal allergic reactions in the United States. Be sure to follow these tips when shopping to make sure you don’t ingest something you are allergies to.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).