Peanut allergic people often avoid eating tree nuts too

Most people with peanut allergy are not allergic to tree nuts, but new research has shown that over 30 per cent will avoid all tree nuts. A number of reasons were proffered by those who avoid tree nuts, the most common being the risk of peanuts being present in tree nut products.

Over 250 people with peanut allergy participated in the study. Of these, 37 per cent consumed all tree nuts, 24 per cent consumed some but not all tree nuts, and 39 per cent avoided all tree nuts. Of those avoiding all tree nuts, half reported their reason was fear of peanut being present due to cross contact. Of those peanut-allergic individuals who don’t avoid all tree nuts, almond was the tree nut most commonly consumed.

Consumption of foods with precautionary labelling was the strongest predictor of tree nut consumption in peanut-allergic individuals. Having sesame allergy or allergy to other foods outside the top 9 food allergens made it less likely for peanut-allergic people to consume any tree nuts.

The study also looked at rates of tree nut co-allergy with peanut allergy. The researchers found no single specific tree nut allergy was more likely to co-exist with peanut allergy, and recommend that clinicians investigate tolerance to each tree nut in their peanut-allergic patients. This may help prevent unnecessary avoidance of all tree nuts.

The full paper is available for download on the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website.