I have had an allergic reaction to peanuts (also almonds and walnuts) since I was about 13 years old. It has included progressively severe hives and itching followed by stomach cramps, vomiting and diaorrhea. The last time it happened I blacked out. However, my breathing is never affected. Two things about my allergy surprise me. First, when I lived in Asia for a five year period, I ate peanuts regularly with no ill effect. I have also eaten them in Thai and Chinese restaurants in New York and London without any reaction. This suggests there is something specific to the European and American varieties of nut, or that it is a preservative or fungus rather than the nut itself that I'm allergic to. Second, on a trip to England last summer, I had a similar (though somewhat milder) reaction after eating grapes. Has anyone else experienced anything similar, Any thoughts on what explains this? Is there a lower incidence of peanut allergies in Asia? Jennifer
On Jul 14, 1999
Hi everyone: I was told this week by someone at a trade show that I was attending that when cotton plants no longer grow in fields that are too "pesticide rich", the farmers plant peanuts because it is the only thing that will grow there for several years. After peanuts grow for several years and remove all of the pesticides out of the soil and sort of "de-tox" the soil, then they can plant more lucrative cotton plants again. I have no idea if this is a fact or not. I also do not know the person who told me about it or whether it is a credible claim or not. I did find it very interesting that peanuts will absorb all of the residual toxins of pesticides and then are consumed by humans!!! Does anyone know anything at all about this? Would cotton farmers also farm peanuts? Do cotton farmers and peanut farmers practice "field swapping" every few years? Does this idea have any validity? Mark
On Jul 15, 1999
I am originally from Taiwan. My son and my nephew both were born here in the US and both have peanut allergy. My mother found it hard to accept because she has never hard of such a thing as peanut allergy in Taiwan or anywhere in Asia. And peanuts are practically everywhere in Taiwan. I have asked our allergist about this but he did not have an answer for me.
On Jul 16, 1999
Mark and Vicky, thank you for responding. It seems from both your comments as if growing methods or pesticides play at least some role in allergic reactions to peanuts. If that's the case, a lot of people may be suffering needlessly. It's surprising that one never hears anything about these international differences and their implications. Jennifer
On Jul 16, 1999
This topic is very intriguing. I read somewhere that in the early history of the peanut, it was considered unfit for human consumption and was used as livestock feed only. Maybe our forefathers knew something we don't.
Stay Safe, Deb
On Jul 19, 1999
I may be wrong, but I think raw peanuts are poisonous. When I lived in Bolivia we used a lot of "raw" unroasted peanuts in foods (before my pa daughter was born) and you had to make sure that the peanuts were very well cooked or the food had a horrible taste even if you just tried a drop. I seem to remember being told down there that the peanuts had to be fully cooked or they would make you sick. Isn't it interesting that they can't be eaten raw and so many people have allergies to them?