10 Things You Might Not Know Have Peanuts

Peanut allergies are surprisingly common these days and the side effects of ingesting peanuts can range from skin rashes to a trip to the emergency room. The allergy is rampant among school-aged kids, and has led to a revamping of many cafeteria foods to ensure that children suffering from a peanut allergy don’t accidentally consume any foods with peanuts. Even trace amounts can wreak havoc on someone who is allergic. Sometimes you may not even realize that a food contains peanuts unless you carefully look at the ingredient list. Here are ten surprising foods you may want to avoid if you do have a peanut allergy:

  1. Egg Rolls: A lot of egg rolls are cooked with peanut oil, making them unsafe for anyone with a peanut intolerance. On top of that, some restaurants use peanut butter to hold the roll together, and some also serve peanut sauce as a dipping condiment for the roll.
  2. Chocolate: Most chocolates and chocolate chips may contain small amounts of peanuts due to being created in factories that also process nuts. If you look closely, the vast majority of candy bar wrappers will specify “may contain trace amounts of nuts”, making them inedible for anyone with an allergy.
  3. Meat Substitutes: Vegetarians who are battling a peanut intolerance should be careful when choosing meat substitutes because many of them contain some peanut products or have been processed in places where peanuts are present.
  4. Various Pet Foods: If you have a child or family member with a peanut allergy, be careful when choosing pet foods because many of them contain peanuts as well. If the allergy is strong enough even skin contact or breathing in the peanut-laced food could set off a reaction.
  5. Spaghetti Sauce: Many restaurants add in peanut butter or even peanut flour to thicken the sauce, making spaghetti sauce a product that someone with an allergy will want to avoid- just in case. Tell your waiter that you’re allergic to ensure that you don’t get served anything potentially harmful.
  6. Tofu: Even though tofu isn’t made with peanuts, some brands of tofu are made in factories that also process peanuts, making contamination a high possibility. If the tofu is manufactured somewhere where peanuts are present the label should indicate that this is the case so that people with allergies can actively avoid it.
  7. Cookies: Most manufactured cookies are processed in facilities that also make cookies with some sort of peanut product; whether it’s peanut butter or actual chunks of peanuts. Even if the cookie you are buying doesn’t contain peanuts, the fact that it’s being made in a place where peanuts are present means it could be contaminated.
  8. Soaps: Soap is another strange item to add to the ever-growing list of items containing peanuts in some form. Some soap is made with the addition of peanut oil, making them dangerous for anyone fighting a serious peanut allergy where even skin contact is a trigger.
  9. Cat Litter: Be careful if you have cats and a peanut allergy because some cat litters can contain peanut hulls in the litter. Read the labels before you buy! Otherwise you or someone you love with an allergy may inadvertently come into contact with it, triggering a reaction.
  10. Bulk Bins: The next time you contemplate getting foods from the bulk bins at grocery stores, think twice. The possibility of cross-contamination from other bins, scoops, and hands is high and could make an otherwise innocent food a threat.

Peanut allergies are tricky because cross-contamination is so easy and can happen inadvertently. Also, peanuts are used so regularly that products that you would never think twice about can contain some sort of peanut product. You need to be vigilant about reading all labels before buying products and you should be up front with restaurants, schools, etc. about the allergy and the severity of it. A lot of places are more than willing to do whatever is necessary to make everything safe for someone with an allergy, so don’t be shy about telling people.

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One Response to “10 Things You Might Not Know Have Peanuts”

  1. March 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm, Karen said:

    Nut shells in firelogs, crushed walnut shells in toys, walnut oil on wooden toys, peanut shells used in power plants, nut oils treated wooden rolling pins.