Last year I wrote about my daughter’s strange allergic and anaphylactic reaction after eating at a restaurant outside of Disneyland. We had no idea why she had this reaction as the chef swore that there had been no tree nuts, or any form of cross contamination in her food. Yet clearly, she’d ingested some form of nuts as her airway had started to close, and she was feeling her lips swelling as well as other symptoms.
You will find that post here, but I can tell you that the offending allergen was the pink peppercorns (which are related to cashews) in a four-blend pepper that the restaurant used. How I discovered this two weeks after the reaction was extremely serendipitous, and I’m very thankful to an Amazon reviewer for the information.
Since then, I’ve discovered that there are some other hidden or obscure tree nut allergens that may cause those with allergies to tree nuts to react, so I want to inform you about those, too.
NB: please understand that I am not a doctor or allergist, and am only passing on what I feel is vital and truly helpful information so that anyone with a tree nut allergy (or those who have children with allergies) can do their own research on these allergens. Given that my daughter has a severe tree nut allergy, I would very much appreciate anyone putting out such information that may save her from an anaphylactic reaction in future.
Sumac seems to have popped up a while ago as a great, new spice that is being used in restaurants and recipes, and I even spotted it in my local Trader Joe’s spice shelf. However, apparently this flowering plant is similar to the pink peppercorns as it is also part of the cashew family (Anacardiaceae), as noted in Wikipedia. Luckily, my daughter has not encountered this spice, but now she knows to avoid it. We’d rather be safe than sorry.
ARGAN (ARGAN OIL)
This was a complete surprise to me, as I didn’t know what argan oil was derived from, but had been using it in my hair as my friend, Marie gave me some to try. It was also in the hair, skin and nails supplement I had been taking. The shock came when I was reading the label on the bottle and saw this below the ingredients:
“Contains Soy and Tree Nut (Argan) ingredients.”
Of course, I immediately hopped on to google to read more about Argan oil, and told my daughter to avoid it, too. Here is what I read on Wikipedia:
“Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) that is endemic to Morocco. In Morocco, argan oil is used to dip bread in at breakfast or to drizzle on couscous or pasta. World-wide, it is gaining a reputation both as an ingredient in high-end, personal-care products and as a heart-healthy gourmet product.“
Who knew? Not me!
Yep, you guessed it, shea butter comes from a nut. Interestingly, my daughter had reactions from a face lotion and a sunscreen that contained shea butter on separate occasions, but realized she had been using other products with shea butter that had no effect on her skin. I’ve told her to avoid it, once again, just to be safe. You’ll have to do your own research, but I’d rather put this on the list of things that come from nuts, and which may cause reactions, than leave it off.
Believe it or not, mangoes are also related to cashews as they too, are part of the Anacardiaceae* family! My daughter has eaten mangoes in the past with no reaction whatsoever, but in comments on my last allergy post (or in emails from readers), I’ve been told that others with nut allergies have reacted to mangoes.
*Marula, which is used to make Amarula Liqueur is also in the Anarcardiaceae family.
Once again, I am sharing this information in the hope that spreading the word about these possible tree nut allergens may save allergy sufferers from future reactions, especially anaphylactic ones.
Do you know of any other such allergens with cross reactions to those with tree nut allergies? I’d love to hear from you! You may help my daughter and many others!
Please pass on this important information to anyone you know who has a tree nut allergy or knows others who do. I’m sure they will be more than grateful.
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