I\'m Upset About the Label \"Shea Butter\"

Publish date:
Updated on

I know that this particular topic could be considered by some as "get a life, Cindy", but I found something interesting when I was label reading in the drug store this morning. Now, maybe everyone is quite used to this because they have always had lots of stores to go into and read labels in (if that was what you liked to do, like I do [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] ). At any rate, it's extremely new for me because I've just come from a one horse town to a multiple horse one.

Anyway, this morning, I'm reading labels on lip balms and of the three brands that I looked at, all had as an ingredient Shea Butter. This included the herbal version of Blistex (I'll be sending their manufacturer an e-mail).

What enangers me about this is that, as I understand it, nuts are among the top five allergens. So, to me, if a nut product is used in a product that is being labeled correctly, then shouldn't it be labeled as one?

Shea butter is SHEANUT BUTTER! This was discovered here again last year when a woman's daughter ate a candy containing sheanut oil. But at least the candy was labeled properly - i.e., SHEANUT.

In all of the cosmetic labeling that I have seen since finding out about sheanuts, I have not seen labeling that indicates the butter is made from a nut. It just says Shea Butter. Now, probably most cosmetic consumers, even non-allergic ones would want to explore a little and ask what the heck shea butter was (I don't really know because I don't do the cosmetic thing [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] ). I do know that this product is becoming more and more popular (as evidenced by what I saw in a very small drug store this morning and three brand name lip balms).

Last year when contacted, FAAN did not have any record of any one having had a reaction to sheanut oil or anything related to sheanut. But as we discussed here, perhaps it's because it hadn't become a common ingredient in a lot of things or because people simply didn't know what they were reacting to.

Thank-you for allowing me to rant and also for understanding that I'm quite dazed and confused right now with my move and probably will remain so for quite some time, especially when it comes to PA.

Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Nov 27, 2001

Shea butter from the karite nut is popular in cosmetics because it is not considered allergenic. It is not even listed in the AllAllergy.Com allergen database which draws from medical and scientific information worldwide. Reactions should be carefully documented and confirmed that there was no other possibility as such reactions are largely unknown and would be medically interesting. Be careful before you add something else to avoid without careful documentation and proof that it is harmful to your child or yourself.

Shea Butter A beautiful somewhat solid butter with the feel and consistency of a butter cookie dough. Has a faint, somewhat nutty scent that will not carry through to the final product. Excellent as a mid-weight oil in creams or as an addition to soapmaking. There are two types of shea butter: Crushed: The karite nut is crushed and filtered to remove contaminants, shells, etc. The final butter is a gorgeous creamy product with the feel and consistency of a butter cookie dough. The coloring may range from a pale, almost white, coloring to a deeper yellow. Crushed shea butter will melt smoothly into the skin. Typically double the cost of the solvent extracted. Solvent extracted: A cheaper method of extraction because it removes larger quantities of butter than does crushing. The butter must be deodorized and bleached afterward to remove the solvent and cover up the remaining odor. Final product is white to graywhish white and has a slightly grainy feel when rubbed between the fingers.

Karite Butter comes from the nuts of a Madagascar tree. It has natural vitamins A, D and E which rejuvenate, protect and smooth your skin. It also fights wrinkles and dry skin (lips) without leaving your skin oily. Shea Butter is also known to help eczema. Good for all skin types.

On Dec 1, 2001

Peanut Kate, I think this question comes from someone who avoids ALL tree nut oils (or other things such as butters made out of tree nuts) in cosmetics, which may, of course, be considered extreme.

I completely understood your post, but the one thing that I did find confusing and do stand to be corrected on is that doesn't everything have the *potential* to be an allergen? Do you remember over a year ago when someone questioned whether or not their daughter could be allergic to garlic? So, I'm not clear how someone could not have the potential to be allergic to a sheanut.

It was only through becoming a member here that I realized that I do have to read cosmetic labels as well as food labels and although I have been very fortunate in that I have not found peanut oil or peanut products in any cosmetics, as other people have (I remember a lip liner being mentioned), I have found mostly tree nut oils. To err on the side of caution, I removed my absolute favourite moisturizer from my home because it had almond oil in it.

Now, I know that this may be seen as extreme. However, I also remember another member being terribly upset that she had recommended one of the children's L'Oreal shampoos to another parent after learning that it had almond oil in it. So, I know that I'm not the only person that is of this extreme position.

From the description above, shea butter does sound absolutely wonderful and something that both my skin and lips desperately need. But would I take the even minute chance? No. And again, I do believe that it should be labeled as SHEANUT butter rather than shea butter, especially as it's use becomes more common.

My original introduction into the sheanut was through another PA parent whose child had ingested a product that was labeled with the ingredient "sheanut oil" and the parent was very upset. I am not clear if her child was TNA as well. We both did extensive web searches that night to see what information we could come up with to post here to make people aware (although it had already been posted about on the board previously) that there was another nut product out there that people could choose, or not choose, to be cautious about.

Thank-you for your post.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Dec 20, 2003

I have just come back from shopping for stocking stuffers, and had been planning on buying Labello (like Chapstick). I checked the ingredients and found Shea butter. I thought I had read somewhere on these boards that this was a nut, so I asked the pharmacist. He didn't know if it was a nut or not, so I didn't buy it, although my son has used Labello for years. My son has been recently diagnosed as Nut allergic in addition to his 14 year Peanut allergy, so of course we are now avoiding all nuts. He is also allergic to soy, and we avoid all legumes.

On Dec 20, 2003

KateB., if you do a search (or I'll try to later) and use sheanut and Cayley's Mom, I think you'll find that sheanuts are considered to be "okay". Why? Because FAAN has never had a reported allergic reaction to a sheanut.

Personally, and again just for me, I'm not okay with that because I don't think everyone reports every reaction to FAAN and I'm not even sure what they do with the information they do receive, but I think if you read what Peanut Kate wrote above even and then find what Cayley's Mom wrote, you'll probably find that the sheanut is okay.

I think in her latest postings regarding sheanuts, Cayley's Mom has explained that the sheanut is not really a nut, just like how a coconut is not a nut. That might be helpful to you, I don't know.

I personally avoid the products, but I might be doing it because I'm ignorant and for no other reason. I know another Mom, who, in dealing with Jesse's "peanut free" classroom avoids palm oil for some reason. Why? I'm not sure. I'll have to ask her. But that's what she feels comfortable with and it's not even her child that is PA.

Let me see if I can find the sheanut information. I think you probably could have purchased the product. However, and big however, as far as I'm concerned (and remember it's just me), I think the pharmacist should have had an answer for you as to whether or not this was really a nut or not and if he/she didn't have an answer, should have gotten one for you. Good customer service in my opinion.

Linda-Jo and I were concerned about sheanuts. We posted about it here. Just like some other members have concerns about coconut or other things.

Happy Holidays! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Dec 20, 2003


Originally posted by Alternative to Mainstream: [b]I know another Mom, who, in dealing with Jesse's "peanut free" classroom avoids palm oil for some reason. Why? I'm not sure.[/b]

I think this would be the same reason some people avoid shea nut oil.

Palm oil is extracted from the palm fruit kernel (as you sometimes see it written as palm kernel oil). Shea nut oil is also extracted from the shea fruit kernel of the fruit.

I think the palm and shea trees both produce a fruit with a "kernel" inside - I personally would not be worried about either palm or shea (I also eat coconut which is a similar type of situation). But I can understand if someone wants to avoid it as we don't know much about shea nuts (not much info about them available when I searched the net).

On Dec 20, 2003

Thanks to you all for your answers. I did try to do a search of 'shea' and then 'shea butter', but came up with hundreds of postings which didn't even mention shea. Sorry to have brought this up on more than one board. My son said that he is comfortable in continuing to use Labello as he has never had a problem with it in all the years he has used it.

On Dec 21, 2003

Kate B., what are you apologizing for? I saw that you had re-raised this thread and I knew Cayley's Mom had posted extensive information re sheanuts in another thread, just didn't know which one. I did see that you had posted in Adults Living with PA but only because I clicked on the Daily Topics yesterday. I wouldn't apologize. You were trying to get an answer.

What I did is what upsets some people more. I did do a search after responding to you using Sheanuts and Cayley's Mom and got three threads that I did re-raise and re-read.

And, for me, just personally, there still wasn't enough information in them for me to stop wanting to avoid the product. But that's just me. It would appear that sheanuts are like coconuts (not that they look like one), but that the butter that is being gotten out of them would be considered okay.

What I don't like is that responses on it's useage are being based on the fact that Anaphylaxis Canada and FAAN have not had any reported reactions to sheanuts or shea butter.

And again, that would be a personal thing, but I do know that when I did report my son's reactions to Anaphylaxis Canada (posted here), they really couldn't use them scientifically or otherwise, because they were being reported by a PA Mom, not a doctor. And doctors where I live don't have to report anaphylactic reactions to anyone, never mind allergic reactions that aren't anaphylactic.

So, I'm just a bit leery. Having said that, if your son has been using the product for quite some time and he's okay with it and hasn't had a reaction, I'd let it be.

There was one person that posted in one of the threads that their child had possibly reacted to shea butter.

I do think it's important to report all reactions to someone, be it Anaphylaxis Canada or FAAN. I know when I reported Jesse's reactions to Anaphylaxis Canada, I also reported them to FAAN and didn't hear back from them. I think it's just a matter of keep plugging away, reporting reactions as they happen and see if anyone will use our information.

And, in having said all of that, I still have some products that come into my home like shampoo and conditioner that are not labeled and I have not asked anyone about them, but Jesse has been okay.

Happy Holidays! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


On Dec 21, 2003

Thanks, Alternative to Mainstream. I will still look for a lip balm without shea butter.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year to all [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jan 26, 2005

i called Blistex a couple weeks ago and they told me that they dont use any tree nuts or peanuts and that facility does not have them either. call yourself and if you find out anything let me know. thanks

On Jan 26, 2005

Personally, I don't think there's anything misleading about "shea butter". If folks don't know what shea is, they should pick up a dictionary.

After all, soybean gets listed as soy and soya--lots of people don't know that beans and peanuts are legumes, but those who *need* to know, do. Cocoa butter doesn't get listed as "cacao bean butter".

Sunflower oil is made from sunflower seeds. Canola is made from rapeseed. These are all things that a consumer can easily discover.

Allergy education lies with the consumer, not just the manufacturer. In this case, the product was clearly labelled. I don't see a problem.


On Jan 26, 2005

Just a reminder that shea "nuts" are not tree nuts or any kind of true nut at all. Shea "nuts" are the pits or kernels of the plum shaped fruits of the Karite tree. If you avoid fruits like plums, peaches, nectarines then you likely will want to avoid shea "nuts" but if not then you might want to reconsider your stand. The word nut is used in many contexts and as the poster just before me states, you need to understand the true meaning before jumping to conclusions. For more information see below from an encyclopedia online. Print encyclopedias in my library have even more detail about the seeds, kernels, pits and explain that they are not considered tree nuts.

Description In its native country it would probably be described as small: the gnarled shea tree which grows to a height of 10 to 15 m. The lactiferous tree with its leathery leaves does not flower until it is 20 years old and only reaches maximum productive capacity at the age of 50 years, then remaining fully productive for more than 100 years. The green plum-shaped fruits, which become brown when they ripen, have a diameter of up to 4 cm. With a fat content of 50 % the kernels (nuts) are a sought-after source of fat in their African homeland. The shea butter obtained from them now has its followers all over the world.

On Jan 26, 2005

krasota, definitely agree with you. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

This thread is old. HOWEVER, and obviously a BIG however, Lindajo and I spent hours researching sheanuts on the internet a few years ago, and, at that time, we didn't feel comfortable with the information we were getting then.

I would have to find the threads where we started to do our initial research - I know it was about Lindajo's daughter eating a candy that either had sheanut oil in it or said "may contain" sheanut oil.

I also know it was quite some time ago because I was still living in Stayner, so it had to be when I was a relatively new member here.

But we did spend the whole night researching sheanuts and came to the conclusion, different than others here, that we didn't feel comfortable with them, at that time.

Could it be considered a "comfort zone" thing?

However, I will reiterate that what we found four years ago was different than what was subsequently found (and posted) by Cayley's Mom, and now again, by PeanutKate.

PeanutKate, always good to see you. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I hope your son is doing well. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jan 27, 2005

The Internet has so much information and it is often hard to verify the authoritiy/biases of the authors or sources of information. I found the libraries at the local university and public library main branch to have specialized food encyclopedia and other books along with some databases that were useful. The "nuts" of the Karite tree are actually the pits or kernels of the fruit. There are apricot pit butters and oils that surface in cosmetics and shampoos and lotions. I don't worry about them. Others may choose too but the allallergy database is the most authoritative list of allergens consulted by food manufacturers, product developers and doctors world wide and shea "nuts" are not listed as there have never been allergic reactions reported ever.l

On Jan 27, 2005

Peanut Kate, definitely hear what you're saying and also respect what you are saying.

This all stems back to a night spent many years ago doing some research - I'm not clear why it has been re-raised, what the big deal is or whether or not Lindajo or I even have a concern about sheanuts anymore. I have not thought about it.

When you're trying to help a friend out close to midnight and the only access to information you have is the internet, even though the best source may be at the public library (although I doubt it would have been in Stayner), I think you're going to use the internet.

As I say, it was ages ago, we both spent hours doing research, we both had concerns, but not clear why it's being re-raised now and even if we did both still feel uncomfortable why that wouldn't be okay.

As I said in my last post, couldn't this be considered a "comfort zone" thing. I mean, I find some pretty odd things posted here that people avoid or do not do because of PA and I don't pass judgement or make comment.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jan 27, 2005

You are so gracious Cindy. Thanks for your patience with me. I am frustrated right now with a family whose comfort zone is so restrictive that the child can hardly be a kid with friends, attending school, going to day camps etc. It is particularly frustrating because there are so many safeguards in place and educated trained staff. The parents fear is not within what anyone could call comfort zones--it is pathological and beyond reasoning. I am frustrated by the lack of reason/logic based responses and I guess it affected my response. Sorry

On Jan 28, 2005

Cindy, I remember that thread in the middle of the night! I let my DD eat a piece of cany with shea nut something in it and I was very nervous. What a sleepless night that was! Luckily, nothing happened and Cindy was "right on" researching information for which I am still greatful!

To tell you the truth, I don't worry about it anymore, I just avoid any products with that in it just to be on the safe side. I haven't been following the research on it to know if it was proven safe for PA/TNA people.

There are so many other products to choose from that are within my comfort zone that we continue to use.

It is probably something that will cure the worst of my dry skin, but I feel safer using something else.

On Jan 28, 2005

We avoid shea butter too but I know why the thread was raised. Because if someone posts about something it seems they're always wordlessly "directed" to an older existing thread.

------------------ ============== [b]~Gale~[/b]

On Jan 28, 2005

gw_mom3, I thought the thread was re-raised because tidina had a concern.

Yes, certainly old threads are re-raised. I understand particularly with Manufacturers that this can be frustrating because the information becomes out-dated, for example, after General Mills purchased Pillsbury.

I know I re-raised an old thread yesterday by BENSMOM about having another child, because kkeene had raised the similar question and I thought she might appreciate seeing responses, albeit old, from members that may not be posting anymore, but on a subject that one is not likely to change one's opinion on.

Also, even in the Manufacturer's section, if the old threads are up-dated, it can be quite helpful (notice I said, if they are, which I understand they rarely are), to keep say all General Mills information in one thread rather than 10 threads.

I would say that if any section of the board has any difficulties, it would be the Manufacturers' section, perhaps our most important section even, because the same questions are raised and re-raised and there are so many threads going re one topic it's unreal.

However, back to your original comment, I believe tidina had a concern.

PeanutKate, I haven't thought about sheanut butter in quite some time and I guess I'm like Lindajo still in that I do avoid it although it's not a thing that is logical (to me - it might be logical to Lindajo).

And I completely hear what you're saying about someone who is so restrictive that a child is not being able to live a "normal" life because of PA.

I'm not clear if you saw my thread under Living with PA that I raised during the summer about if people were sure they could walk out the door or not, because sometimes, although respecting other people's comfort zones totally, I do sometimes read things here that make me wonder how the PA child will ever live in the "real" world.

But then again, I might have what some may consider a lax comfort zone considering that my son has had three anaphylactic reactions, I'm not sure.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]