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Tree-nut allergy questions (coconut? palm oil?)

Posted on December 1st, 2008 by Alison Read 98 Comments - Add Your Own »

Tree-nut allergy confusion? Hope this helps…

Is coconut considered a tree nut?

There is conflicting information on whether coconut must be avoided by people who are allergic to tree nuts.

Coconut has not in the past been considered a tree nut, but in 2006, the FDA began to define coconut as a tree nut. However, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, “the available medical literature contains documentation of a small number of allergic reactions to coconut; most occurred in people who were not allergic to other tree nuts. Ask your doctor if you need to avoid coconut.”

According to Allergy New Zealand, “coconuts are not tree nuts but are monocotyledonous plants of the palm family Arecaceae. Nut bearing trees, on the other hand, are dicots and are only distantly related to the palm species. Coconut rarely causes allergy. Most allergists will not suggest coconut avoidance unless there has been an allergic reaction to coconut.”

My daughter, who is allergic to cashews (and we don’t know yet about other tree nuts), eats coconut. We have never avoided it and never had a problem. I think that some people may have a coconut allergy in addition to a tree nut allergy, but whether the two are related remains unclear.

What about palm oil?

A friend told me that a pie she saw in a store had on the ingredient label “palm oil (a tree nut allergen)”. This is a case of the manufacturer not understanding what constitutes an tree-nut allergen, because palm oil does not come from a tree nut.

Palm oil comes from directly from the tree but has nothing to do with a tree nut. In addition, palm oil does not contain any [tree nut] proteins to which people are allergic. I verified this fact on the phone with FAAN. Palm oil is safe for tree-nut allergic individuals, unless they also have an allergy to palm oil (highly unlikely). [Correction: I meant to say that palm oil does not contain any tree nut proteins, but someone could be allergic to palm oil as a separate allergy from tree nuts.]

Is a water chestnut a nut?

A chestnut is a nut, but a water chestnut is a vegetable. No problem for the tree-nut allergic!

Does nutmeg come from a nut?

Nutmeg comes from the seeds of a tropical tree. It is not a nut and therefore safe for nut-allergic people. Someone might be allergic to nutmeg for other reasons, but a nutmeg allergy is probably rare.

Any other questions? Comment below and I will try to answer!

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  1. I have an allergy to Acai Berries. I am slightly allergic to tree nuts almonds, walnuts. Also peanuts. Not pignolas (pinenuts). Also, not allergic to Coconut. I understand Acai Berries are a small fruit from the Palm tree. Is there something related in these berries that is a kin to the tree nuts that cause allergies? Sadly, I am also allergic to strawberries, raspberries, blackberries (yum!). But thankfully not blueberries or cranberries or pomegranates.


  2. Hi Tiffany,
    The acai berries don’t have anything to do with tree nuts.
    But after some research, it seems that many people have a reaction to acai berries. Here is one forum where people are talking about it:
    Allergy to Acai Berries

    I’m glad you asked this question, because everyone talks about acai as being a superfood. I will be on the lookout for allergy to this in my family!

  3. I’m interested in your statement that people are not allergic to palm oil. My four-year-old grandson gets a terrible rash on his bottom if he eats anything containing either palm oil or cottonseed oil. He comes from a long line of people with food allergies. I have wondered, however, if his sensitivity might be to the pesticide/herbicide chemicals used on the plants rather than to the plant itself. I know that cotton crops are raised with massive amounts of pesticides. Have you heard of this before?

  4. My daughter has a severe peanut and tree nut allergy. She recently has been interested in trying pomegranates – some children at her school have been eating them. I’m concerned – are they at all related to any nut? Are they safe for her to eat?

  5. Catherine,
    Good question – I really don’t know how much of the chemicals get into the oil itself. Definitely something to check out! I is possible that he is allergic to both palm oil and cottonseed oil – and you are sure you have been able to isolate it to just those oils, and not the foods that were eaten with them?

    Regarding pomegranate, it seems that there could be “a cross-reactivity between pomegranate, hazelnut and peanut”, according to an article in the publication Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006 Jan;96(1):122-3. I was not able to find the contents of the article, but found another article about the pomegranate where they mention the same thing:
    Thanks for asking this question – not sure what I will do with this information (my daughter is also allergic to tree nuts and peanuts).

  6. There is something in Red Palm Oil to which people can be allegic because I am. I used it from a bottle and could not eat the food. It made my mouth feel like it was sunburned. I also bought some Smart Balance, not realizing they had a new formula, that now has red palm oil and had the same reaction. This leads me to believe it is something in the Red Palm Oil and not the version I bought.

  7. I just now this week developed a severe allergy to coconut. I was sharing a chunk of raw coconut with my daughter when I had an anaphalactic allergic reaction and almost died. Now I am trying to figure out how my life is changed other than carrying an epipen with me everywhere and being fearful of hidden coconut… am I at risk with fragrances or soaps or palm oils or coconut oils? I am trying to get information if there is anyone out there like me help would be appreciated. Thank you

  8. Oh my gosh Debby! That sounds frightening. I would think that if you had such a severe reaction you should avoid anything with coconut in it just to be safe, but don’t you think that you have been using products for years with coconut in it?

  9. My daughter is allergic to tree nuts and sun flower seeds.We live in the mountains of West Virginia and she likes to hunt deer and squirrel.These animals eat lots of tree nuts, is it safe for her to eat the meat? Noboby so far can say yes or no, do you have any info on this?

  10. I have to disagree with you in regards to allergies to pure palm oil. If i consume anything that has “palm oil” in the contents within 5 minutes I am nauseated,severe stomach cramps, diahrrea and larthargic. blood pressure drops, requires a shot of adrenlin. This has happened 5 times and only when I have eaten something with “palm oil” in the food. Now I have to check every thing I eat to make sure it has no “palm oil” in the food. Including restaurants. This allergy can be very devastating to very few people.

  11. Kelly,
    Wow — I have no idea on that question! I would think this wouldn’t matter since it seems the allergenic protein wouldn’t make it through like that. But I’m no scientist!

    I have corrected my sentence in the original article… what I meant was that palm oil does not contain tree nut proteins, but a person could have a separate allergy to palm oil. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

  12. My three year old is allergic to peanuts. Should I avoid the coconut? Not sure of the severity of the allergy as it was found out during a test for his milk allergy. I do have an epi-pen as it could be that serious. Is it worth the risk to try?

  13. I just recently discovered that I am allergic to both palm oil and cottonseed oil. This site came up in a search for those two allergens, and I see that the boy mentioned in the comment above is also afflicted by these same two allergies. I wonder about the pesticides. It’s worth investigating. I’m also allergic to peanuts, by the way.

  14. My son has a palm oil allergy that we dicovered when he ate a natural peanut butter that contained palm oil. Before seeing his reaction (spots then blowing up like a balloon) we had only noticed that he seemed foggy brained. About a year after the peanut butter incident we discovered that milk and many cereals are fortified with vitamins a and d, from palmitate. Now we are more vigilant to keep any type of palm product away from him. After less than a week, we noticed a dfferent kid: less whining, more attentive, and for getting less than he ever had. I hope this helps someone.

  15. Hello,

    My 3 year old son just had a allergic reaction to what they think is the peanuts..Ive been calling all over to manufatcutres to make sure that the foods I am feeding him are peanut free or made in a peanut free facility. One of his favorite lunch foods are Pizza pops that I notice have cocanut in them… Is cocanut considered a nut, should I avoid giving him this???

  16. Chelsie,
    It seems clear that people have allergies to coconut and palm oil. I would speak with your allergist have him tested specifically for coconut and palm oil.

  17. My son (5), is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and coconut. My question relates to the coconut allergy. I have not gotten a clear answer to this question – even from my pediatric allergist … should my son avoid palm oil, palmitate because of the coconut allergy? He has never actually consumed coconut, but prior to the diagnosis, he had consumed items with coconut oil, palm oil and palmitate and experienced no visible reaction. That said, I am very careful about palm because of the coconut allergy – I am just wondering if I really need to be. Any input would be helpful. Thanks.

  18. Elene,
    What kind of testing was done to determine the coconut allergy? I would verify that your son is allergic to coconut specifically. And then I would ask if he could be tested for an allergy to palm oil. When my daughter did skin testing, even if the extracts weren’t available for certain foods, I was asked to bring in the real food itself and they put it into the skin, just as they would the extract. This is how we confirmed my daughter’s avocado allergy. She actually didn’t react to avocado extract, but given her history with a reaction to fresh avocado, he had me bring in fresh avocado and sure enough she had a big skin reaction. She was also tested with fresh banana when she was younger and even fresh raw fish.
    If your son doesn’t react, ask if it would be possible to do a food challenge with your doctor. That was going to be our next step with the avocado if she didn’t react to the skin test.

  19. Can a person eat vanilla extract,or pure vanilla when they have tree nut allergies.I understand this is a bean but are they any relation to tree nuts,would it be safe to eat.

  20. I have never heard that someone with a nut allergy should avoid vanilla. My daughter is allergic to peanuts, cashews and pistachios, and she has vanilla all the time.

  21. I feel like I have had blisters in my throat for about 10 days now. I am allergic to peanuts and I have been eating (for 10 days) Paul Newman chocolate cookies which are made with “palm fruit”… is that considered part of the peanut family?

  22. Hello, my son is 4 and has an epi-pen for tree nut and cat allergy. He has numerous other allergies as well, including wheat, soy, and corn. These 3 are a class 2. Now they are considering to test him for celiac disease. Does anyone know if a mild wheat allergy would be the same as gluten allergy, in which causes celiac? Just trying to see his chances of being a celiac, and if I should be worried before he even takes the test. If anyone could shed some light on this for me I would greatly appreciate it.

  23. Hi Shenola,

    My son is 3 1/2 and he had a wheat allergy at age 1–so we avoided all wheat, gluten etc. When he was re-tested the following year he had outgrown it and now does fine with all products containing wheat and gluten. I believe that a wheat allergy and celiac disease can be 2 different things. Does your son have any other symptoms of celiac or is there a history in the family? I know how you feel–as soon as they said wheat allergy I thought of celiac.

  24. are palm dates tree nuts?

  25. My teacher son has a tree-nut allergy and his daycare called and asked if he could have coconut and she said no becuase she didn’t know if a coconut is a nut so she went on google and checked if a coconut is a tree-nut but she found the best thing to do is talk to the allergy doctor. So if you have a kid that has a allergy of tree-nuts check with the allergy doctor.

  26. I think coconuts are fruit


  27. It is vital that all people with food allergies (or any intense allergy, like bee stings) carry one or two “EpiPens” with them at all times. They now distribute “practice” EpiPens (no needle, no epinephrine) so the real injector isn’t a strange device. I expect that the EpiPen is probably painful, but it’s got to be an improvement over not breathing.

    If you have, or think you have, allergies, find a good allergist. Ask your internist or family doctor, and your friends and neighbors, who they’ve seen and who they think is a good allergist.

    Keep in mind that even doctors can recommend some real losers. An outstanding internist I had a number of years ago recommended a gynecologist for me to see; she was also listed in a local magazine as one of the best doctors in the area. When I woke from the gyn’s surgery on me, my abdomen looked like I’d been hit by a truck and felt worse. I had nearly identical surgery two more times with no bruising.

    If you have any question about an allergist’s competence or interest, you have no reason to return to see that doctor again. You don’t have to explain to anyone why you’re changing to another doctor. Doctors are actually employed by us “patients” and we are under no obligation to return to a doctor we don’t feel comfortable with.

    There are insurance policies that limit which doctor(s) you can see, but push the insurance company if you don’t feel that available doctor(s) are competent.

    NEVER underestimate a food allergy. They can be quickly fatal. They can be dramatically worse each time you’re exposed to the allergen, so don’t assume that you’ll be safe because you only had a few hives last time you ate the offending food.

  28. If you are allergic to sunflower oil and seeds can you eat safflower oil.

  29. I am very new to this now, I had to take my son to the ER today because he had a allergic reaction to a Brazilian Nut. He has never had a reaction before to mixed nuts or any kind of nut until today. I decided to take him to the ER and I am so glad I did. He would have died if I hadn’t, and on top of having asthma. My question is on sunflower oil and any other oil that may contain nuts. I have to wait until Monday to talk to his doctor. I am allergic to certain nuts now also. He has been eating peanut butter since he was one or two. Could you advise me on what to look out for on ingredients labels? I have somethings that contain coconuts and sunflower oils. Thank you from a mom that never had to deal with this in any of her kids until now. Any suggestions I would be greatly indebted to you.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer M.

  30. Jennifer,
    That is really scary about your son.
    Sunflower seeds are not nuts, but some people have an allergy to seeds, such as sunflower, sesame and poppy.
    Coconuts are also different from tree nuts, but people could also have an allergy to coconut.
    Here is a Tree-Nut Allergy Guide to help you:
    I hope this helps and good luck.

  31. Hi… My 17 yr old son is allergic to Peanuts and tree nuts. Also Chicken and turkey… Over the last cpl of months we have found that he has an allergy to baked beans!….. Is it well known that once u have anaphalaxia you will become more ‘prone’ to other things! Thanks

  32. First of lets be clear so there is no misunderstanding by the readers here. Red Palm Oil or palm oil does not come from a nut so the prospects of someone being allergic to it is not true. Red Palm Oil/Palm Oil comes from the outer layer of the palm fruit that is indigenous to the equator/tropical regions of the world. Palm is considered a vegetable in terms of classification.
    Palm Trees of this kind do produce a nut with a hard shell. This shell is more rigid than that of the walnut shell and would require a nutcracker to get to the core of this nut. The core can be used to produce palm kernel oil which can be found in ice cream and store shelf products. Even so because this oil is from a vegetable it is difficult to classify the core as a nut since it is nothing like a peanut, or related nuts.
    Palm oil is considered a vegetable oil like olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, etc. It is not a tree nut. There is some degree of misinformation going on here and there is usually underlying intent as a reason to misinform people. So, just to be factual, palm oil comes from a vegetable so if you are allergic to that you must be allergic to vegetable oil in general.

  33. my son has been allergy tested and it has said he is allergic to trees, quite high. my husband has been growing palm trees and cultivating them, and is very successful, mr doctor seems to think that these trees are ok, but surely trees are trees, does any one know if this is correct. my husband has them growing around the house.many thanks.lisa

  34. Dear Alison,
    I have a 20 year old daughter who has had peanut allergy ever since she was 2 years old, also allergic to other nuts as well. Please are you able to tell me if palm oil would be safe for her.
    Many thanks

  35. Rose,
    To my knowledge, palm oil has nothing to do with peanuts. I have heard of people having an allergy to palm oil, however. The safest thing would be to get her tested first.

  36. How come I’m allergic to tree nuts but not peanuts?

  37. Barb,
    Peanuts are legumes, not tree nuts! For some reason, some people can be allergic to both tree nuts and peanuts.

  38. I had a bad allergic reaction to using tea tree oil on my skin and just had the same reaction when I found coconut oil in my Vit E oil. Are they related?

  39. Hello,
    My 3 year old son was just diagnosed with severe peanut and tree nut allergies. He has been eating food that “may contain peanuts or nuts” since he could eat real food and he has never had a reaction. Do you know what the chances are of actually having a reaction from a product like this? Can he absolutely NEVER eat these foods again?

  40. Hi, Would love to hear people’s opinions on if there is any connection between tea tree oil and tree nuts. My daughter is allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts . . . but I want to use tea tree oil on her–for yeast diaper rash and or when she gets cuts etc. Can I?

    Of course I know she could be allergic to tea tree as well (separately) but–is there a connection between tea tree and tree nuts?

  41. Mary,
    I can’t imagine why tea tree oil would have anything to do with tree nuts. Tea tree oil comes from the leaves I think.

  42. Hi Heather,
    This is an excellent question. The problem is that there is no standard law for the use of allergen statements. They are working on these standards which should make it easier for all of us. I would call the company and ask about their processing. If they say that they have dedicated lines for the peanut vs. non-peanut products, you might feel safer about your child eating it than if they say that they run everything on the same line.

  43. FYI – Just read on the FDA website that all grains are expected to have some cross-contamination from other grain glutens. I keep seeing Oat based cereals now have the “may contain traces of soy” on the labels, but just want to let everyone know they should expect gluten traces from other grains as the same farm equipment and transport barrels are used for all crops.

    Could there be a link between the rate of allergies and the GMO (Genetic Modification) of different foods now available such as wheat ? I’ve read potatos are now GMO but what other products have been tinkered with (Frankenfood)?

  44. I know that I am allergic to coconut. Every time I eat it I get a sore throat. Is there anything else that is related to coconut that I should avoid?

  45. Hi Brent,
    According to the Botanical Food Family List from The Calgary Allergy Network in Canada, coconut is part of the Palm family, which includes: Coconut, Date, Palm Cabbage, and Sago. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are allergic to all members of the family, but might want to be aware of them.

  46. This may or not be useful, but: for a while I thought I had some kind of super-severe IBS, but a bit of sleuthing tracked down the culprits: palm kernel oil and cottonseed oil, materials that have crept into almost all commercial baked good, candies, cookies, crackers, even some breads. One chips ahoy or pecan sandy has the same effect as eating about 3 bars of ex-lax. I keep trying to get the word out: palm kernel oil, even in tiny amounts, can cause crippling cases of the runs. If you have that problem, try cutting it out of your diet. But read labels closely, it’s in almost everything!
    Okay with butter, sesame, peanut, canola, and olive oils, no ill effects from lard. But for me palm and cottonseed oils are dangerous.

  47. Thanks Steve. I haven’t heard of many people with this problem, but maybe they don’t it!

  48. Hi Alison, I have “latex food syndrom”. I am 50 yrs. old and do not know what to eat. I was born with spinal biffida and scoliosus. I got a laytex allergy at birth due to doctors using latex gloves. I never imagined I would have a fruit allergy.Since I have stopped eating fruit, I am nearly pain free. I also have issues with gluten, lactose, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts and wheat. I am trying to rule out foods and perservatives.I got a flu shot in Oct. and it made all my allergies more intense. Fruit made me an emotional and crazy person, from inflamtion in my head. I am so blessed that I now have a diagnoses. I gave bloood and was sick for 2 weeks,from what they cleaned my arm with. I guessit means I have a shellfish allergy as well.I grew up eating basically meat, potato, veg, and bread. I have not found a butter I can use. They have fruit as a sweatner or soy. I have a little reaction to coccunut butter. I am at a loss as to what to spread on a potato. When ingedients list “spices” I usually have a reaction. Along with fruit, I have read that legiumes are an issue as well.I have been eating alot of brown rice pasta and usually, turkey, chiken or beef, with broccoli. Do you have any ideas that would lengthen my food list. I am afraid to eat. I have a sweet tooth as well, but I know sugar causes inflamtion as well. But…any candy ideas? Bread? soups? Butters? Thanks, Jeanne

  49. Hello, what a very helpful website.
    My son is allergic to coconut. Should palm oil be avoided? Thanks for your help.

  50. Jeanne,
    Can you have olive oil? I enjoy olive oil and salt on a potato. My family uses Pamela’s bread mix with egg replacer. I like to make a roasted chicken soup — one night I roast a chicken in the oven for 1 hour on 450 degrees, surrounded by carrots, potatoes, onions, any other root veggies, all sprinkled with kosher salt. We eat that for dinner. The next night I add the leftover chicken and bones and veggies to water or broth, bring to a boil and simmer until chicken falls off bone easily. I make rice spaghetti or fettuccine and add to the soup. Hope these ideas help!

  51. If my daughter is allergic to blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, will she also be allergic to pomegranates?

  52. Hi Kady,
    Being allergic to one food doesn’t necessarily mean you will be allergic to all foods in the same family, though you could be. According to this Botanical Food Family List, raspberries and strawberries are in the same family. Blueberries are in a different one, and pomegranates are also in their own. If you suspect an allergy to something, get tested for that particular food.

  53. I have a group Presentation for school On a how to make a salad. I chose a “creamy hawaiian fruit salad” that I saw from a kraft food magazine. With the following ingredients

    2 cups seedless red grapes
    1 large orange, sectioned
    1 banana, sliced
    1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
    1 cup JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
    1 container (8 oz.) BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
    1/4 cup BAKER’S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut, toasted

    In my class there are people who are allergic to melons, pineapple, gluten, dairy, peanuts (almonds).
    do my ingredient fall within these category & what can I substitute or perhaps options on a fruit salad I can use that does not affect anyone?

  54. Mayra,
    Your salad is gluten-free, but contains dairy in the sour cream. You could try a dairy-free sour cream (but make sure it does NOT contain milk protein) — I’m not sure if it will taste good in this salad.

    For nut allergies, be sure the coconut is not cross-contaminated with nuts (it should say on the label). Otherwise, coconut should be fine, unless someone has a specific allergy to coconut. Make sure the fruit is not cut where there are nuts present or with knives that have come into contact with nuts.

    For pineapple, you could substitute mango to keep it tropical!

  55. Coconut allergy can be topical as well as oral. I had reactions topically to soaps and shampoos for years before I finally reacted to pure coconut oil which gave me my first clue, and then as a food.

    Coconut derivatives are in basically any cosmetic or cleaning agent, in the form of sodium laureth sulphate, cetearyl alcohol (sometimes) and many others.

    For a good blog, I recommend http://coconutallergy.blogspot.com/

  56. Thank you so much for this article. I have searched everywhere trying to find this answer. My son is tree nut allergic,but I really enjoy using Organic Palm Shortening and have had lots of trouble getting an answer on this one. Thanks.

  57. I have been aware of my peanut allergy for many years, I get migraines from them, @ first I could cheat with peanut butter(but if I ate a small handful of peanuts I would get a migraine outright), 1 or 2 sandwiches and I’d be fine, but after years of indulging very little a co-worker walked by w/ something w/ peanuts/peanut butter, and it about made me sick. I discovered cottonseed oil years after the peanut allergy, after trial and error, so have had to be very careful w/ food labels, since it is in everything…I was still getting migraines sometimes every week, and finally after more investigation this past December found out I’m also allergic to palm oil…which makes it equally as frustrating since cottonseed and palm are in almost everything, which means the only things I’m truly safe from is meat, vegetables, and fruit….it becomes annoying during holiday celebrations when store bought cakes are considered. Or when I go out to eat b/c I’m wondering am I going to get a migraine from this outing…Why are the food companies so willy-nilly w/ these oils if they are so dangerous to so many?

  58. I have an anaphalectic reaction to tree nuts. My allergist tested me and said I also have to avoid peanuts. Do you know about peanut or cocunut oils, which seem to be in everything?

  59. Jill,
    Coconut is not considered a nut, so you should be able to eat coconut oil, unless you have a separate allergy to it (talk to your doctor). You should avoid peanut oil because even though some say that highly refined peanut oil has no peanut proteins in it, you can’t be sure of the quality of the oil, so it may still contain peanut protein.

  60. I have recently developed an intolerance to a wide range of foods including bread. Because the bloating reaction I have is so fast and violent I have managed to cut out most of the foods causing me this discomfort, and through trial and painful error I was able to identify the key ingredient causing my problem which is PALM OIL (this is often hidden within UK labelling law under a non-specifical label of vegetable oil). It is really amazing just how much processed food contains palm oil now and how difficult it is to avoid. My sympathies go out to anyone who has a dangerous reaction to foods, as this has highlighted to me how hard it is to determine the ingregients of even everyday processed food products. Great blog – I finally found someone else with palm oil problems!

  61. My daughter has a tree nut allergy. She also cannot use Shea butter products. She broke out in hives wherever I put the shea butter lotion. Is this considered a tree nut?

  62. Shea butter lotion should be fine with a tree nut allergy. I use it with no problem .
    I want to consult someone professionally who can help me with my diet. Local allergists do not seem to,be able to figure things put beyond what I am allergic to . For example, I cannot have any uncooked fruits(except blueberries and pineapple)or raw vegetables. I am allergic to tree nuts. But I am trying to figure,out what foods contain processed fruits or nuts so that I might be able to try them (I.e. almond milk?) are there specialized nutritionists or allergists out there that could sit down and help me. I am willing to consult by email or phone if necessary. I live in NJ. Does anyone have any recommendations ? Just a note to some past posters: if you hear of someone allergic to a fruit that has a stone or seeds, they are likely to be allergic,to other seeded or stone fruits.(ifmtheynare allergic to grapes, they will still be allergic to non seeded grapes) One melon usually means (or will eventually mean) all melons. Bananas are related to kiwi and birch and ragweed and chamomile…all the same family. This is called oral allergy syndrome . Any suggestions for me would be great , I really want to,improve my diet

  63. Hello
    I am severely allergic to all tree nuts and peanuts and fruits
    And I was at a salon and they put this lotion and/or oil on my hands and it had sweet almond oil/pecan oils in there and I didnt react…How come I test positively and severely to nuts yet I dont react from lotions? Is it because I have to ingest it to go into anaphalactic or because the lotions and nut oils are processed? just curious! I was fine but took Benedrayl as a precaution

  64. My son was recently diagnosed with PA. I’m feeling a littering overwhelmed as I’m sure you all did when you found out. My question is….are a avocados considered a vegetable or are they in the nut family? I never even thought about these things before! I thank God we live in the time of technology that we do where answers are at our fingertips.

  65. Stephanie,
    Avocado is not a nut. It is actually a fruit.

  66. I’m relieved to find this site. I have suffered from skin rashes for 20 years, also loose bowel movements every day. In addition I have Fibromyalgia. I realised years ago that “Vegetable oil” was the culprit but it is almost impossible to exclude this from ones diet since it is in almost every processed foodstuff in the U.K. I see that others are making the same comment regarding Vegetable oil. I also have wondered if Palm Oil is the main culprit since it has flooded the U.K over the last 20 years. Could the problem be an allergy to the protein Avenin?

  67. I am 30 years old and have been severely allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts my whole life (as well as dairy products and olives/olive oil). I’ve had allergic reactions to both coconut (raw/natural) and to nutmeg as well. If you have questions as to whether or not you should try a food, meet with your allergist and have some food allergy tests done. I knew i was allergic to certain nuts but I wanted to know if i was allergic to all of them…my allergist did blood work and could tell me that i was in fact allergic to all tree nuts, including nutmeg and coconut and it had ranges of severity on it as well which was really helpful.

    What is really frustrating is companies like WHITE WAVE – SILK are now creating coconut milk and there are warning labels on all of their SOY milks says it uses the same product line as items that use ALMONDS and COCONUT. So there goes another product for those who are allergic to tree nuts or coconuts.

  68. Aimee – bummer about the soymilk, but if you call the company they might be able to reassure you that they thoroughly clean the lines and it might be safe for you. Better to not take the risk of course if you are unsure.

  69. My name is brooke. I am 20 years old and this past weekend I had eaten some walnuts AND pecans. My throat was almost all the way closed before i got to the e.r. I have grown up with peanut butter and other nuts as well at theses two but just somehow became allergic. I am also allergic to some citrus, dogs,cats, honey and i am lactose intolerant.. My brother is allergic to cashews and pistachios, so when I got an allergic reaction to the nuts it was no surprise. but, is there any way that I will know if I can eat peanuts again? I know I am not airborn as we have it in our house but I would like another persons opinion. I have my epipen just in case i ever need it but i would like to know if anyone else has had new oncoming allergies to tree nuts. and if they can eat some tree nuts and not others. and if they can still eat peanut butter with tree nut allergies. I have read online that peanuts grow ion different plants and are not associated with tree nuts but I would still like other peoples opinions please. Much help!! :)

  70. Nut allergies are among the scariest for restaurant goers but there is this huge uproar online about allergy bullying at schools. It really is scary to this that kids are deliberately exposing allergic kids to things that can harm them. Ridiculous. Sorry, daily rant… Great post BTW.

  71. Hi Brooke,
    If you have tree nut allergies, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are allergic to all tree nuts or to peanut butter. You should go to an allergist and get tested for the specific nuts and for peanuts. Yes, I know people who can eat one type of nut but not another. However, should you decide to do that, you have to make sure there is no cross-contamination with the nuts you are eating. For example, you may be able to eat almonds if they come from a dedicated almond grower (like Blue Diamond) and are never re-packaged in a facility that contains other types of nuts. Hope that helps.

  72. If you have allergies to tree nuts please read your product labels as a lot of baked goods are now made with walnut flour. The spread that is being advertised to put on bread, Nutella is filled with tree nuts. Also, honey nut cheerios is made with almonds in the honey. Check also labels to see if the food has been processed on equipment that processes tree nuts. The oil from the tree nut can be left on the conveyer belt and contaminate the next food item. Candy canes are one such items that fits this scenario among others. Food is also cooked with peanut, coconut oils and Vitamins, the gummy ones are shined with walnut and coconut oils.

  73. I am looking for some information regarding tree-nut allergies. I am looking to start producing chocolate bars and have found that the cacao beans are typically cross-pollinated by surrounding plants which give chocolate it’s unique flavor profiles. Many are cross-pollinated with tree-nuts. Is there any chance of a reaction from chocolate that has been cross-pollinated as I am trying to keep all of the chocolate I make allergen-free. Any advice on where I can find the answer to this question would be helpful as well.

  74. I jus wanted to say that this is great blog! I am allergic to some tree nuts and not to peanuts. It all started with rocky road ice cream as a child. Everytine I would consume it, my throat would feel graspy, the. After every episode it would get worse and start to itch. It didn’t take long for me to quit that ice cream, but I did notice that milk would calm my allergic symptoms down. On one occasion while in high school, my friend ordered a chinese chicken sandwhich which contained mayo, and he is allergic to eggs and milk products. I ordered a plain turkey sandwhich with no mayo or milk products it, so I did him the favor and switched with him. This was my tisrt time eating a chinese chicken salad sandwhich and in high school. I had no idea of the bomb that was about to unleash! I had no idea that the sandwhich contained pecans. I took a couple of bites and soon noticed my first severe allergic reaction. My body started to itch, I was covered in hives, my throat started to swell up, and couldn’t breathe. I felt that I couldn’t make it to the hospital which was about 5 miles away, so I went to urgent care which was about a mile away. Upon getting there I remember all the nurses and doctors there rushed me in and were all over me, injecting me with medication and then I passed out. When I regained conscious the doctor explained that I was now severly allergic to nuts and prescribed me with epipens. I am not allergic to all nuts though. I can eat peanuts, almonds, pistachios, and at one point cashews. I just wanted to share my story.

  75. I think by eating or drinking coconut milk or coconut water causes any kind of allergy. Rather it is believed that coconut water is good for health.

  76. I am allergic to nuts. I am also allergic to coconut due to eating popcorn made with coconut Oil I was in ER. I think anyone with a nut allergy should avoid palm oil and coconut oil. I found out the hard way so be careful what you eat! Also some tom’s potato chips, cookies and bugles have sent me to ER. Bugles are fried in coconut oil. Keep Benadryl and an epi pen with at all times!

  77. If I eat anything containing PALM OIL, I experience stomach pain a few hours later. This is more an intolerance than a frank allergy, I suppose. I am 55 years old, male. Also feel nauseous if I eat coconut oil.

  78. I am allergic to coconut milk (the tinned variety or from a fresh coconut) and also to tea tree oil. I always develop a skin rash (eczema) after drinking the milk and break out into the itchiest rash after using tea tree oil on my skin. Pity, as I adore the smell of coconuts.

  79. I am going way back to 2009 and the mom asking about her daughter who eats squirrels and venison. My son is severely allergic to tree nuts, and I also wondered about game. The allergist looked like I was out of my mind talking about eating squirrels. He could only come up with, “don’t puncture the stomach cavity and I think it will be fine.” As we have always been game eaters, we have continued with no ill effects. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be cross contamination but we haven’t had any problems.

  80. Is Vanilla considered a tree nut?

  81. I have recently been diagnosed with severe nut allergy to ALL nuts however they did not specify tree nut and other nuts. I am allergic to all tree nuts: Brazil, Cashew, Walnut, Peanut, Hazlenut, Almond etc… But I am also allergic to Coconut too along with coconut oil, Argan oil, macadamia but oil. I wondered whether I would also be allergic to palm oil due to my other allergies. Every site or forum all state that if you are allergic to tree nuts then you shouldn’t really be allergic to coconut and vise versa however due to both my coconut and tree nut allergies I am unsure! If anyone could help I would be very grateful, thanks!

  82. I also have an allergy to Cottonseed + Palm Oil I have kbown about the Cottonseed oil one for a good 10-15 years and just discovered the Palm in the last 4 years. When I was researching Cottonseed I found a site that said that the cottonseed has mold growing on it!! ?? If thats true no wonder so many people have allergies to it. Why are they using this on our food??

  83. As you know, first of all stay away from all the stuff that you know you are allergic to. If you haven’t done so already, take an allergy test with an allergist specialists. For the most part what I have found out online is if you are allergic to tree nuts, then you are most likely not allergic to non tree nuts, and vice versa. For example I am allergic to some tree nuts, but not all. I am allergic to Pecans, Walnuts, and now Almonds and Cashews(as before I could eat cashews and almonds like nothing, also this new almond and cashew allergy just sparked up within a year). I am not allergic to Pine nuts, brazil nuts, peanuts(legume), and hazelnuts. Again I am no doctor and this is just my opinion, but do go see a specialist in allergies.

  84. Also it isn’t a bad idea to have a doctor prescribe you an epipen just in case of an emergency. Just about a day ago I read on CNN that a lady passed away because she fell into anaphylactic shock after about 15 wasps stung her. Her coworker that was interviewed stated she wasn’t allergic to wasps, but that we probably wouldn’t know. I don’t mean to scare you, but it’s just a very wise idea to have one with you at all times. I keep two in my car, two at work, and two at home.

  85. Deborah, Vanilla is not a tree-nut so you are safe there.

    Beth, I am allergic to tree-nuts and coconut and do just fine with Organic Palm Oil. In saying this, any food that has a protein in it can cause a reaction. I would use it with caution or maybe even see if you could get tested for it.

  86. I have an allergy to sunflower, does that mean I have an allergy to safflower?
    Also, does that mean I have an allergy to sunflower lecithin?

  87. Hi Lori,
    The sunflower and the safflower are related, so you should be careful!

  88. In the past few years I have developed an intolerance to peanuts and pineapple and more recently palm oil. I get horrible migraines the next day and sometimes get sick from it. I am reading labels closely and everything has palm oil in it and it’s really tough. Also a lot of stuff has palm kernel oil in it. Is it likely that palm kernel oil is ok or should I stay away from that also?

  89. So if you have a soy and treenut allergy should palm oil be avoided?

  90. Hello,

    My 5 year old is allergic to tree nuts, can she eat pineapple (is pineapple a dirivitive of the pine tree?)


  91. Cashew nut allergy warning!!!
    Sumac, the spice, (not poison sumac), is related to the cashew nut tree.
    I have two children allergic to both.
    Sumac may be found in Persian and Arabic dishes.
    Stay away from shawarma, ftyre (spinach pie), zataar, etc. unless you are certain there is no sumac.
    I even found it sprinkled on Greek yogurt at a middle eastern restaurant.
    A simple spinach pie at my neighborhood market led to a 6 hour visit to the emergency room for my child!

  92. It took ages to figure out that I have a Palm Oil allergy. The first reaction was to hearts of Palm. It is hideously severe and takes weeks to recover. I have to carry an epipen because of this particular allergy (none of the dozen or so other food allergens cause the same severity of reaction) and it is the hardest to avoid. One study did find correlation between tree nut allergy and Palm oil allergy. Also Palm Oil allergy patients have respiratory responses to the pollen. It is a common cause of allergy in Palm producing countries. Be warned, it is as bad as having a peanut allergy.

  93. My daughter has a severe peanut and tree nut allergy- walnuts, almonds and pistachios cause the worst reaction almost immediately. I recently bought a Shea Butter Hand Cream from L’Occitane. On the ingredient label is listed:
    prunis amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) fruit extract. No one in the store could tell me what sweet almond fruit extract was or if it was related to tree nuts. Would my daughter be allergic to this ingredient?

  94. Sorry Alison, I didn’t see the box about receiving folloup comments via email.

  95. I am allergic to coconut oil and palm oil! I had a severe reaction to coconut oil in popcorn and a reaction to palm oil in Little Debbie snack cakes. I have to read all labels. If you notice swelling in your stomach or bloating, read your labels and stay away from both oils. Large amounts could be deadly!

  96. Is palm sugar considered part of the nut family and can people with tree nut allergy eat palm sugar?
    Thank You

  97. Hi Russ,
    Palm sugar is made from the sap of sugar palm tree (also called date palm). Therefore, it is not related to nuts. Palm sugar should be fine for someone with nut allergies.

  98. I have a tree nut allergy (but not allergic to almonds or peanuts). I also have “oral allergy syndrome.” For example if I drink chamomile tea or eat kiwi,radishes, raw broccoli or melons, I get the itch in my throat, but not the reaction like I accidentally ate a pistaschio. Trying to buy whole food organic vitamins, but they are so filled with different flower and herb extracts, afraid I may be doing more harm than good. Vita-min-herb by pure synergy or RAW by Garden of Life are the vitamins I am exploring. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

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