Link between tree nut allergy and coconut??

Posted on: Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:48am
BitsnBearsMom's picture
Joined: 07/28/2004 - 09:00

I'm new here and starting a search on information.
My 8yo has always had food allergies - he outgrew (or never had) a peanut allergy when he was 4 (test was always very small) as well as dairy, eggs and beef but has always had large positives for many of the individual tree nuts.
Last Spring when he was tested coconut came up as a pretty big positive - we found out after that (the hard way) that coconut oil in foods makes the poor little guy spend hours vomiting and before he was tested he had some shredded coconut that he said made his tongue tingle.
He's now starting to have issues with palm oil (we are 99% sure that's what it is) as he's doubled over in pain with the palm and that's how it started with the coconut oil then progressed to vomiting.
Does anyone know if there is a link between coconut/palm allergies and tree nut allergies?
I do believe coconut is not listed as a nut.
I'm having a frustrating time finding information about the coconut/palm as it's not one of the top allergies in Canada that get listed and it's in so many things. Everything he could have before that had no nuts in it he now can't have b/c it has either coconut oil or palm oil in it.
Hopefully this is the right place to post - I did post looking for info on this in the 'other food allergies' forum also.

Posted on: Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:53am
lj's picture
Joined: 01/26/2006 - 09:00

I may be mistaken but I thought the FDA now listed coconut as a tree nut since last year. Maybe you can contact FAAN for some info? Their website has a very brief statement about coconut.

Posted on: Tue, 01/29/2008 - 1:10am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Coconut is a top 8 allergen. Because it is considered a tree nut by the FDA.
I just don't anything about palm oil....sorry!

Posted on: Tue, 01/29/2008 - 1:21am
BitsnBearsMom's picture
Joined: 07/28/2004 - 09:00

Is it considered one in Canada too? I've never seen it listed on Canadian labels unless that is starting to change.
I have contacted the AAIA in Canada but there still doesn't seem to be much info as to what to look for.

Posted on: Wed, 01/30/2008 - 4:06am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Oh sorry. I'm thinking USA only.
I have no idea about Canada.

Posted on: Wed, 01/30/2008 - 4:15am
Kristijo's picture
Joined: 01/25/2008 - 08:11

Here is a link to the FDA's list of nuts that must be listed on labels: [url=""][/url]
It is #25 on the list.
Hope that helps!

Posted on: Wed, 01/30/2008 - 9:43am
Kanji's picture
Joined: 01/30/2008 - 16:26

Thanks for the URL to the FDA doc. I had no idea that Ginko, Hickory or Lichee were tree nuts.

Posted on: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 2:32pm
mamakasper's picture
Joined: 08/23/2007 - 09:00

Yes, coconut is related to treenuts. Sorry to hear your son is reacting to coconut oil. How difficult! It's everywhere...
My son is allergic to all treenuts, plus coconut. His SPT for coconut was very large, class 4. The allergic said DS's SPT was "impressive," given that the coconut solution they put on his skin had very little protein, mostly fat and sugar. That said, I'm not sure about any reactions he has had to coconut, since the only times we know he reacted was to a coconut chutney, which I later discovered also had ground cashews. So, while we have avoided giving DS coconut outright, we haven't been anywhere near as diligent as we have with the other TN.
In any case, the allergist said that DS is probably only allergic to coconut because he is so allergic to the other tree nuts. They recently discovered that the proteins in coconut are very similar to the proteins in some treenuts. This is why they started calling it a treenut in the US. The body reacts to the coconut protein, as if it were almond (or other TN) protein. I guess this is what they mean by cross-reactivity.
BTW, the allerist also told us that coconut would probably be the first nut that he would outgrow.
Don't know whether this helps, but I thought I'd share our experience, since, like your son, DS is also allergic to both TN and coconut.
Good luck.
ds. tna, coconut, age 4

Posted on: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:01am
lmw's picture
Joined: 11/12/2005 - 09:00

DD is allergic to coconut, too. And she was just TNA for years, before adding the PA. For a long time, she would react to a certain dip, before we finally thought it might be the coconut oil in it. That's when she realised that coconut also bothered her. She did test positive at the next app't.
I have had trouble trying to decide if there's a definite link between coconut and palm oil, but I do try to stay away from palm if possible.
She was excited when the Quaker granola bars came out, and that's when she really found that coconut was a no-go. Even the new PC bars have coconut in them.

Posted on: Tue, 02/05/2008 - 5:59am
BitsnBearsMom's picture
Joined: 07/28/2004 - 09:00

Thanks for all the info everyone.
I've been talking to our allergist and called the AAIA and the good news is that palm oil is high in saturated fat so the companies are trying to get away from using them as much. Coconut oil is a healthier alternative but they don't like to use that either b/c it's a very heavy and expensive oil to use.
They do believe the coconut and palm are linked b/c they are in the same family so therefore have similar protiens - as are dates and sago (whatever that is!!)
Looks like we need to stay away from coconut and palm as well as the tree nuts! Seems my ds' is one of the rare few that gets hit with them all!!

Posted on: Mon, 02/11/2008 - 12:45am
blsdmom's picture
Joined: 02/05/2008 - 20:01

I know how you feel. Both of my children are the "rare" ones that have gotten hit with everything. The list of their food allergies keeps growing especially within the legume family. We make all of our bakery from scratch in my "safe" kitchen due to cross contamination of nuts, sesame, and soy.
As far as coconut, my children are allergic. The only oils we use are extra virgin olive oil and canola oil. I'm not sure about palm oil, I'll research that one and get back to you if I find anything.
You are not alone, hang in there.


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