Food allergies can be scary, especially for people who may have severe reactions to food allergens. Peanut allergy is one of the top eight allergens facing millions of Americans. For many people with peanut allergies, they are at risk of developing anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. For this reason, it is vital that people with peanut allergies follow a peanut-free diet and always have an auto-injecting epinephrine pen. Being an avid ingredient label reader is essential, but also keep an eye out for new products that may contain peanuts of hidden or unknown origin.
Today, manufacturers must label foods containing peanuts in accordance with Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) rules. Peanuts and peanut ingredients must be clearly identified on the label. For those with peanut allergies, the statements “may contain peanuts,” “contains peanuts,” or “this product was made in a facility that also processes peanuts” are to help you identify foods that may put you at risk to your health important method. allergen.
It is very important for people to understand that when it comes to food allergies, it is absolutely not safe to assume that something is safe without checking and investigating all the ingredients. This is especially true for unfamiliar or new foods on the market. While foods may appear peanut-free at first, this is not always the case. You might be surprised to learn that many food and non-food manufacturers use peanuts to enhance their products. For example, since peanuts are a legume and a source of protein and fiber, they can be used to thicken sauces or soups, increase overall protein content, or enhance the flavor of foods.
Familiarity with the so-called “code words” that emphasize the presence of peanuts in products is vital to one’s safety. Anything that contains the word “nuts” or “peanuts” should be viewed more clearly to make sure you understand the ingredient list. However, some words are less clear-cut, such as chili, which requires awareness and knowledge to navigate that food is safe.
A surprising source of peanut allergens
There are many surprising sources of peanuts, including:
Artificial nuts: Hearing the word “artificial” might lead one to believe that there are no real nuts in this project at all. However, don’t let this title mislead you into thinking it’s safe to eat. In most cases, “artificial nuts” actually contain nuts, so don’t take the risk. If you have a peanut allergy, add it to your list of foods to avoid.
Beer Nuts: No, these nuts are not made with beer! These are actually made with peanuts and flavored with a sweet and salty glaze. They are called beer nuts because they are marketed to be eaten as a snack while enjoying beer.
Earth Nuts: By calling you “Earth Nuts,” this food may appeal to those who eat “clean, green, or near-earth.”But buyers beware because it’s actually nuts any Nuts, seeds or fruits that grow in the ground. So the reality is that these nuts may include peanuts because they are grown underground.
Mandelonas: “Artificial nuts” (fake nuts) are actually peanuts that have been decolorized, deflavored, and soaked in almond flavoring or other flavorings like pecans or walnuts. The flavored peanut is then reshaped into the nut it tries to mimic. Mandelonas is a cheaper option than expensive nuts.
Chili: The “secret” ingredient in many chili peppers is peanut butter. It can be used as a thickener or flavor enhancer. Be especially careful with restaurant chili or prepared chili, and be sure to ask about the possibility of peanuts or peanut butter as an ingredient.
Crumb toppings: Peanut butter can act as a binder in crumb toppings, holding the ingredients together loosely and providing a nutty flavor. At other times, crushed nuts may also be included in the crumb topping mix.
Graham Cracker Crust: Similar to the crumb topping, peanut butter may be included in graham cracker crust recipes to bind and hold the crust together, especially in no-bake recipe versions.
Hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein: Watch out for this ingredient, which is often found in imported foods because they may be made from peanuts. In the United States, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and vegetable protein are usually made from soy.
Marzipan: This is a nut butter made from ground almonds, honey, and sugar. Marzipan is easy to shape and color with food coloring. It is used as a decorative element for cakes, cookies or colorful sweets. Peanut marzipan or mazapan comes from Latin America and is similar to marzipan, but it’s made with peanuts instead of almonds.
Mole Sauce: Common in Mexican cooking, mole sauce contains a variety of ingredients and spices, including chili peppers. It can be thickened and flavored with ground peanuts or peanut butter.
Additionally, natural flavors and energy bars include a source of peanuts.
Natural flavorings: Another potentially misleading term is “natural,” which may be interpreted as allergen-free, but it isn’t. Natural flavors may contain peanuts or any other flavors made from natural sources. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) requires declarations if the top 8 allergens are listed as natural flavors.
Energy bars: Protein bars have become a staple for many, not just athletes looking to eat more protein-rich foods. These bars often use peanuts, tree nuts or soy to help boost the protein content. Peanuts or peanut butter are often a popular flavor choice. In addition, cross-contamination can also occur during the manufacture of these bars.
Peanut allergies are indeed something to be taken seriously. Familiarize yourself with the hidden sources of peanuts in food, as well as other non-food items, that can save your life.