Tree Nut Avoidance Handout COFAR
Tree Nut Allergy FAAN
Tree Nut Allergy Avoidance List KFA
Tree Nut Allergy Information FAIUSA
Tree Nut Allergy Overview
One of the first question people ask is what is a tree nut. A simple answer is that it is most nuts that you can think of that is not a tree nut (See FAAN Tree Nut Allergy Page for some exceptions). So a partial list of tree nuts include but is not limited to walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, brazilnuts, pine nuts. Mor extensive tree nut lists can be found in the resources on this page. One trivia that many people don’t realize is that a filbert is a type of hazelnut. Another common question is coconut a tree nut? As described in the FAAN page, coconuts is actually a seed of drupaceous fruit, but the FDA under the FALCPA labeling laws identifies coconut as a type of tree nut. So anyone with a tree nut allergy should discuss with their doctor, whether they should avoid coconuts.
Tree nut allergies are one of the most common food allergies found. Unfortunately a tree nut allergy is more likely to be lifelong, and often have cross-reactivity among different type of tree nuts. There can also be extensive cross-reactivity with peanuts, even though peanuts are technically not a tree nut, but a legume. More importantly, however, is that there are risks of cross-contamination, or cross-contact, among different tree nuts. So even if someone may not be allergic to one type of nut, there may be contaminated amounts of other nuts to trigger a reaction. Therefore in general, people allergic to tree nuts are recommended to avoid all types of tree nuts.
Avoiding tree nuts may be difficult, because they can be found in some unexpected places such as barbecue sauces, salad dressings, coffee, and cold cuts. So reading labels becomes an essential skill to avoid possible accidental exposure to tree nuts. You should be careful about possible food allergens in restaurants (particular Asian restaurants) . Other places with higher risk of cross contact with tree nuts include bakeries and ice cream parlors.