It’s well known in the food allergy community that the popular disclaimer ‘may contain nuts’ can refer to both tree nuts and peanuts, as unpopular as this lack of distinction may be. Few manufacturers are any more specific than this — chocolate brand Moo Free spring to mind as an exception, as one of their chocolate products is hazelnut based, and their others helpfully carry a ‘made in a factory that handles hazelnuts’ warning.
This means, at best, those who can tolerate some but not all of the ‘nuts’ are obliged to call manufacturers to see whether they can find out more information, or just avoid the products completely.
But what to do when the consumption of certain ‘nuts’ is recommended in order to maintain tolerance in a patient with allergies to other ‘nuts’?
The subject arose during Allergy Hour last week (14th November), as participant Laura Fearn’s daughter had passed a peanut challenge but remains allergic to tree nuts. Which peanut-based products were safely tree-nut-free, she wondered?
I suggested Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs, imported and distributed in the UK by the dedicated team at Free From Italy, and have just had it confirmed that they are indeed produced in a tree-nut-free factory. You can find them at Ocado and Planet Organic, and they are made with just peanut, corn, palm oil and salt.
Laura had heard that Skippy peanut butter is safe. You can see from her tweet here that there is no ‘tree nut’ warning on the product. Charlie, an allergy parent in a similar boat, advised that Skippy had been safe, but that production has now moved, so only the American imported large jars available at Costco are tree-nut free. You can see them on the Costco site here and here.
Another suggestion was Star Bar, by Cadbury’s, who are one of the few brands who distinguish between tree nuts and peanuts in their precautionary warnings. Star Bar contains peanuts (and barley, milk and wheat), has no ‘nut’ warning, and is widely available, including at Tesco.
But other than that? Finding tree-nut-free peanut-containing products appears tough. Sadly, even pre-bagged unshelled nuts of one particular type regularly carry warnings that they may contain or have come into contact with others — although another Allergy Hour regular Sarah Chapman has suggested that gently washing unshelled nuts in very mild detergent then rinsing, drying and shelling for consumption is a good, albeit time-consuming option. It’s not surprising that many just avoid nuts and peanuts completely.
Does anyone know of other safe products, even from the United States which can be imported? I’ll update this page regularly if we can find more …