Can you eat seeds if you are allergic to tree nuts?

Can you eat seeds when you are following a tree nut free diet? Many people with nut allergies wonder if they can enjoy sunflower, poppy, pumpkin and sesame seeds.

Some of these seeds are commonly used in cooking as a substitute for nuts and peanuts for people on a nut-free diet. Not only do they provide nutritional value, but the seeds also taste similar.

These seeds come from a family of plants not closely related to the trees that produce the nuts. This means they may not have the same allergenic proteins that nuts have.

However, seed allergies can occur. May also be allergic to nuts and seeds. As with other allergies, people can have a severe reaction to the seeds.

If you have a tree nut allergy, this article covers what you need to know about including seeds in your diet. However, your provider or allergist is the best source of advice on whether seeds can be part of your diet, especially if you have other food allergies.

How do you know if you have allergies?

Seed allergies are rare

Although this is not common, you may be allergic to tree nuts and seeds. You may be allergic to different kinds of seeds. Some people are more prone to allergic reactions than others.

sesame seeds

It is estimated that only 0.1% of the global population is allergic to sesame seeds. This may not be common, but sesame allergies can still be serious.Some people may experience a life-threatening allergic reaction called allergic reaction.

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Sesame is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as one of 10 major allergens. In the United States, a sesame allergy affects one in 1,000 people.

In countries where many people eat foods containing sesame seeds, sesame seeds are becoming a common allergy. For example, sesame allergies have emerged in Israel and Australia, where tahini is popular.

What are allergens?

poppy seeds

Poppy seeds can cause severe allergic reactions. Your risk is higher if you are allergic to tree nuts (especially hazelnuts) or pollen.

There is no exact estimate of how many people are allergic to poppy seeds. However, it is considered rarer than a sesame allergy.

coexisting with food allergies

sunflower seeds

Reports of sunflower seed allergies are rare, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have serious potential. Some reports include allergic reactions. Overall, sunflower seed allergies appear to be rare.

pumpkin seeds

It is possible to be allergic to pumpkin seeds, but this is extremely rare.


Overall, seed allergies are rare. Allergies to certain seeds are more common in some parts of the world where people eat a lot of seeds.

pollen on seeds

A study of reported allergic reactions to seeds from 1930 to 2016 found that some people’s reactions were not actually from the seeds themselves.

In a few cases, allergists have found that mold or pollen on the seeds caused the allergic reaction. For example, some people inhale mold from contaminated seeds.

Researchers also found that some sunflower seeds contain pollen, which may trigger allergic reactions.


Even if you are not allergic to seeds, they may still contain allergens that can cause a reaction. For example, people with allergies to pollen or mold can react to the seeds if they have these substances on them.

How to do an allergy test


Even if you are not allergic to seeds, they may have been exposed to allergens that can cause you to react. This is why it is important to be aware of so-called cross-contamination during processing.

How to avoid cross-contamination if you have a food allergy

For example, some companies that make sunflower seed butter also make nut butter or peanut butter. Even though sunflower seed butter is nut-free, it may have come into contact with nuts during the making process.

If you have a severe tree nut or peanut allergy, seed-based products made in facilities that produce nut products are not a safe option.

If you are not sure whether a product is safe for you, please contact the company that made the product. Ask them if any of their nut products are produced in the same facility or using the same equipment.


If you’re looking for a nut-free product, keep in mind that cross-contamination can occur during processing. Sometimes nut-free products such as sunflower butter are produced in the same facility as nut products such as peanut butter.


Many people with tree nut allergies prefer the seeds as an alternative. Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds can add nutrition and variety to a nut-free diet.

However, it is possible to be allergic to nuts and seeds. While seed allergies are rare, they do occur. Like other allergies, they can be serious.

What food allergies do some people have?

VigorTip words

Although they are not very common, reports of seed allergies are increasing. Sesame allergies are becoming more common.

One reason we may see more cases of seed allergy is that seeds and seed products, such as oils, are popular ingredients in dishes around the world. As more people enjoy seeds and incorporate them into their diets, we may see more reported cases of allergies.

More research is needed to understand seed allergies worldwide, but you can discuss with your supplier what is best for you. If you have other allergies – even non-food allergies – ask them if seeds are a safe option for you.

When you’re shopping for a nut-free product, don’t hesitate to contact a company and ask how their product is made to ensure there’s no cross-contamination.

Most common food allergies