Food Products Made with Peanuts or Peanut Oil
Knowing which foods contain peanuts or peanut oil is a big challenge if you have a peanut allergy.
Adults and children who have had a peanut allergy reaction from eating peanuts need to be very careful that they do not eat any foods with peanuts again.
Even a small piece of peanut has the potential to cause an allergic reaction that could be life-threatening. There is no cure for peanut allergies, so allergic people need to avoid all foods containing peanuts.
Peanuts are often hidden in foods that you may not suspect
Although it is obvious that you will need to avoid peanuts and peanut butter, it's not possible to see peanuts in many foods. Peanuts are present in some foods that have no peanut taste at all like some kinds of chili. It is also in many ethnic foods, including Thai, Chinese and African dishes. Cooks sometimes use peanut oil for flavoring in ethnic foods.
Many Italian dishes contain pesto that is used as a flavoring agent. Pesto often contains peanuts, so if you or your child have had a peanut allergy diagnosis, you will need to be careful that none of the Italian sauces or frozen foods that you eat contain pesto with peanuts.
Candy can also contain peanuts. Peanuts are used to make nougat, which is a whipped candy made in a variety of flavors. You may believe that you are eating a chocolate covered orange or almond candy that actually has peanuts in it. It is best to avoid nougat candies if you are allergic to peanuts.
Check the labels of baked goods carefully
Extra care will need to be taken if you buy pastries, cakes, or other baked goods and desserts. Peanuts can be hidden in fillings that do not look like peanuts. Cross-contamination also happens in many bakeries when a peanut-free product is cut with the same knives or equipment used for a peanut-filled item earlier.
The safest way to avoid accidentally eating peanuts is to not eat baked products unless you make them yourself or read the labels to make sure that the items are made in a peanut-free facility.
It's best not buy ice cream from an ice cream shop
You might ask the worker at your neighborhood ice cream shop if peanuts are in a certain flavor of ice cream, but you could still be endangering yourself. That's again because of the chances that cross-contamination could happen.
Most ice cream stores dip ice cream and then place the dipper in water between customers. Water alone does not keep someone with a peanut allergy safe from this allergen. The ice cream dipper would need to be thoroughly cleaned in soapy hot water and soaked in bleach water if it had been used for peanut butter ice cream.
Granola bars, cereal and protein bars often contain peanuts
Eating granola bars, breakfast bars, granola cereal, or protein bars can be dangerous to the person with a peanut allergy. Be sure to read the box carefully to see if there are peanuts in the bars. If the box does not say, "Made in a Peanut-Free Facility," you should avoid eating them. You will always want to be sure to have some epinephrine available in case a tiny bit of peanut is accidentally eaten and you develop allergy symptoms.
Check with your allergist about eating peanut oil
Many allergists tell their patients with peanut allergies to simply avoid peanut oil and products that contain this type of oil in addition to not eating peanuts. Although some peanut oils have had the protein removed, you may not have enough information on a food label to know if the kind of oil in a particular food is safe to eat. To be safe, it is best to avoid any food that contains peanut oil as well as peanuts.