Peanuts and allergens

Peanut are also known as groundnuts and monkey nuts.

Peanuts are a common cause of food allergy, affecting 1-2% of the UK population. They can cause severe, anaphylactic reactions, and are the most common cause of fatal food allergy.

Peanut allergy may be acquired in childhood.

It is the most common type of food allergy, which people rarely grow out of.

For unknown reasons, studies have shown a sharp rise in peanut allergies over the last 20 years.
Many studies have suggested unborn children whose mothers eat peanuts are less likely to develop an allergy, although this is disputed.

Those severely allergic will fall into anaphylaxis, requiring an adrenaline injection straight away, which will give them time to get to hospital.

Many people with peanut allergy also react to tree nuts, and there is also allergenic cross-reactivity with other members of the legume family, such as soya and lupin.

Heat treatment, especially roasting, increases the allergenicity of peanuts.

Daily Mail April 22nd reported that a man died after severe allergic reaction from takeaway meal containing peanuts.

Ingredients to avoid if you are allergic to peanut:

Arachis oil
Beer nuts
Mixed nuts
Monkey Nuts
Nut pieces
Peanut butter
Peanut oil (cold pressed, expelled or extruded)
Peanut sprouts

Any products containing peanut or peanut derivatives must be avoided
(eg peanut flour, sodium peanutate, and peanutamide).

Products which might contain peanut include:

African dishes
Asian/Indian dishes
Breakfast cereals
Dried fruit mixes
Health food bars
Mexican dishes
Salad/salad dressing
Snack foods

Allergy specialists often advise peanut-allergic individuals to also avoid tree nuts.

Those allergic to peanuts are not often allergic to other legumes.

However, peanut allergic individuals may react to lupin (eg flour and lupin in beans). Those with nut allergy generally do not need to avoid coconut and nutmeg.

Thanks to Food Standards Australia for this information.

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