Serving Customers with Peanut and Tree Nut Allergies

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Peanuts and tree nuts are a common ingredient or garnish for many restaurant dishes, but for some guests, even a trace amount of nut protein can cause an allergic reaction. Peanuts and tree nut allergic reactions tend to be very severe and may be life-threatening. Estimates show that nearly 3.1 million Americans suffer from tree nut allergies, and the number of children with peanut allergies doubled between 1997 and 2002. So it is important to be aware of the common foods and ingredients that contain nuts in order to assure your guests have a healthy dining experience.

Types of Tree Nuts

The following is a list of common tree nuts that are known to cause allergic reactions and should be avoided when preparing dishes:

  • Almond
  • Brazil nut
  • Cashew
  • Chestnut
  • Hazelnut/Filbert
  • Macadamia nut
  • Pecan
  • Pine nut
  • Pistachio
  • Walnut

Common Foods that Contain Tree Nuts

Whether in trace amounts or as a primary ingredient, tree nuts can be found in a variety of common ready-to-eat foods.

Food that Contains PeanutsFood that Contains Tree Nuts
  • Candy
  • Desserts
  • Chili (used as a thickener)
  • Spgahetti Sauce (used as a thickener)
  • Ethnic foods
  • Cereals
  • Candies
  • Ethnic foods
  • Marinades
  • Salads
  • Crackers
  • Flavored coffee
  • Barbeque Sauce
  • Desserts
  • Cold cuts
  • Baked Goods

Ingredients to Avoid

When serving guests with peanut or tree nut allergies, be sure to read food labels for common ingredients that contain contain nut proteins.

Ingredients with PeanutsIngredients with Tree Nuts
  • Arachis oil
  • Beer nuts / mixed nuts
  • Artificially flavored nuts
  • Ground nuts
  • Lupine or Lupin
  • Hazelnuts
  • Wintergreen extract
  • Artificial nut flavors
  • Marzipan
  • Almond Extract
  • Nougat

*Information on these tables have been compiled from the Food Allergy Initiative’s Website

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