Peanut Allergy

What is a Peanut Allergy?

Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies, and just a trace amount of peanuts or peanut residue can cause a reaction. Allergy symptoms can range from mild, such as rash, to severe, such as anaphylaxis, a reaction that threatens breathing and circulation. In cases of allergic reactions, seek medical help immediately.

Peanut vs. Nut Allergies

Peanuts grow underground and are part of the legume family. This is a different plant family than from tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, etc. Though peanuts and tree nuts are not related, around a quarter of the people with peanut allergies are also allergic to tree nuts. Also, peanuts and tree nuts often come in contact with each other during processing. For this reason, people who allergic to peanuts are advised to avoid tree nuts, too.

Avoiding Contact with Peanuts

Peanut residue is a major concern when it comes in contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. Always read ingredients to see if products "contain" peanuts or were processed with the same equipment as peanut-containing foods.

Some food service establishments are considered high-risk for individuals with peanut allergies because they commonly use peanuts, which can increases the risk of cross-contact. Be cautious of the following places if you have a peanut allergy:

  • Mexican restaurants
  • Asian restaurants
  • African restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Ice cream shops

Also, many restaurants use peanut oil to fry food. Always remember to ask your server before ordering what oil they use and what menu items contain peanuts.

Potential Sources of Peanuts

Other Names and Cross Reactions
  • Arachis (Peanut Oil)
  • Lupine
Peanut Containing Foods
  • Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Oil
  • Peanut Flour
  • Beer Nuts
  • Ground Nuts
  • Peanut protein hydrolysate
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Mandelonas
  • Candy Bars
  • Chocolate
  • Marzipan
  • Mole Sauce
  • Baked Goods
  • Sweets
  • Nougats
  • Ice Cream
Sources You May Not Expect
  • Asian Foods
  • African Foods
  • Cookies
  • Chili
  • Enchilada Sauce
  • Fried Fast Food
  • Gravy
  • Hot Sauce
  • Meat substitutes
  • Mexican Food
  • Pancakes
  • Salad Dressing
Foods Often Processed Near or With Peanuts
  • Alternative Nut Butters
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Tree Nuts

Good Substitutions for Peanuts

Other Names and Cross Reactions
  • Tree Nuts (if not allergic)
Alternative Nut Butters
  • Almond Butter
  • Cashew Butter
  • Soy Nut Butter
  • Sunflower Butter

Check the label and call the manufacturers of these products before using to make sure they are not processed with or near peanuts.

Vegetable Oils for Cooking
  • Soy
  • Grape Seed
  • Canola
  • Corn

More information on peanut allergy: