Do you have a nut allergy? Know someone that does? Here are 10 food items that may contain nuts!
First of all, you do not have to avoid any Fine Choice Foods’ products. We are a food manufacturer that is MSG free, trans fat fee, artificial ingredients free, and nut free!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we got our inspiration for today’s blog while working on the packaging of a few new products coming out. We clearly label our product as “nut free” but what happens when we’re at a café or a restaurant? And let’s not forget that some of our friends who are allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to other tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans and cashews (just to name a few). So what should you keep an eye out for when you are out? And what should you be mindful of when cooking for friends?
A lot of restaurant chains including Five Guys uses peanut oil for their deep frying needs. (We checked the ingredient declarations of McDonalds, A&W, and Wendy’s here in Canada and they all use vegetable oil, usually containing one or more of the following: canola oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, palm oil, corn oil, soybean oil, to fry their food.)
Peanut oil is known for its high smoke point and neutral taste which makes it perfect for frying food. It’s also low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, making it healthier for frying than with shortening or lard. Peanut oil is also popular throughout Asian cuisine, and some may even use it exclusively in the kitchen.
Ask the restaurant you are eating at if they use peanut oil in their kitchen!
Creamy curries, such as tikka masala, korma and pasanda, often count cashew nuts and ground almonds as part of their ingredients as well as being cooked in nut oil. Peshawari Naan and desserts such as Gajar Ka Halwar and Payasam also regularly contain nuts. Jarred sauces should indicate if they may contain nuts, so do check the listed ingredients on the bottle.
If your allergies are so severe that you cannot come into contact with nuts at all. Do keep in mind that some product may cross-contaminate when the label indicates that it is “made in a factory that uses nut ingredients”.
Needless to say, cookies, candy, pastries, pie crusts, and many more baked goods may contain nuts. French macarons are made with almond flour. Banana loaf with walnuts? Yum but obviously not for those with a nut allergy! And that ginger molasses cookie sitting right beside the peanut butter cookie at the coffee shop? Sometimes, it’s not as obvious. Cakes and cookies may be manufactured or baked in facilities that handles nuts, thus not guaranteed. On Starbuck’s food nutritional fact sheet, it clearly states that “All of our food products are produced and stored in environments where known allergens may exist.”
Holiday and party season is really revving up and here are a few liquors that are made from nuts that you should be aware of.
- Amaretto (almond)
- Charbay Nostalgie (black walnut)
- Frangelico (hazelnut)
- Kahana Royale (macadamia nut)
- Nocello (walnut)
- Gin: Some gins use almonds in processing
Peanuts and peanut butter are sometimes used to thicken a soup. What you may not know is that in many Chinese “broth” soups, Chinese almonds (南北杏) and/or peanuts are often used to give the broth a hint of sweetness. Unless the soup is served with all its ingredients, you may not see the peanuts or almonds that were involved in the making of.
Sauces and Dressings
Satay sauce, peanut sauce and the popular pesto all have one thing in common – nuts. Nutmums.com has compiled a sample of sauces and dressings that are dedicated to being nut free here.
Ham and Cold Cuts
Some ham and cold cuts may include nuts as their ingredient for flavour. A great example of that is Mortadella, an Italian sausage or ham made of ground cured pork, pork fat, and flavoured with ground black pepper, myrtle berries and pistachios.
Veggie Burgers are great for those who prefer a patty with no meat. Keep in mind that for texture and crunch, corn, beans, grains, seeds, and even nuts are added. Wholefoods has a Lentil Walnut Burger recipe that’s great for vegetarians and for those who are sensitive to gluten, but not so much for our friends with a nut allergy.
This one came as a surprise, but the research makes sense. Though there are very few nut species that are pollinated by bees, it is still something to think about. If you are allergic to peanuts only, you are actually safe as peanuts are not visited by honeybees. If you are allergic to Walnut and Pecan, you are also safe. They are pollinated via wind.
Since most allergies are protein based, and pollen contains many of the proteins produced by the parent plant, there is a chance that honey or pollen from those plants could be a problem. One bee keeper mentioned on Beesource.com that their honey was collected when cotton and soybeans were blooming. As it turns out, one of their customers with a soy allergy reacted to their honey. As a result, they have now added an additional label to their summer honey to inform customers of the potential of soy contents. To be safe, it is best to check with your honey farm what plants their bees frequent.
Non-Food Sources of Peanut
This may be for another post, but there are other sources of peanuts that may affect you if you have a peanut allergy. A few example of this are:
- Some Vitamins
- Cosmetics and soaps (may contain nut oils)
- Bird Feed
- Beanbags (some may be stuffed with walnut shells)
- Pet food
If you suspect you are allergic to peanut, any of the tree nuts, or any of the legumes, please make an appointment to see an allergist as soon as possible to learn how to best manage your symptoms and treat the diagnosis.
(Image credits: www.pixabay.com)