Alert - I just found several packets of flower seeds at Lowes with walnut hulls as an "inert material."  Read your flower seed ingredients!

Tree Nut Allergy

Tree nut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in the United States. A tree nut allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly interprets the proteins in a product containing tree nuts as a harmful substance. When a person with this allergy comes in contact (touching, breathing or eating) with the tree nut he or she is allergic to, the body produces antibodies to fight the harmful substance, and this triggers an allergic reaction.

The most common reactions include rash (atopic dermatitis), redness and swelling around the mouth, hives (urticaria), asthma, stomachache, cramping, diarrhea or vomiting, asthma, and in extreme cases anaphylaxis. Reactions can occur within minutes or several hours after consuming the allergen.

Tree nuts are a botanical food family with many different members, including almonds, cashews, pecans, etc. (more listed below). If you are allergic to one member of a food family, you may also be allergic to other members of the same food family. See Botanical Food Families.

Tree nut allergy is rarely outgrown. Most people remain allergic for their entire lives. It is also possible to develop a tree nut allergy later in life. If you suspect you have an allergy to one or more tree nuts, avoid all foods that contain tree nuts, and please see a board certified allergist or immunologist as soon as possible. A skin prick test or RAST can confirm the allergy. (Do not use antihistamines for 7-10 days prior to the test.)

Note – Neither coconut nor nutmeg are members of the tree nut family. Coconut is the seed of a fruit. Nutmeg comes from the seeds of a tropical tree.

Note – If you are nursing a baby and suspect or know the baby has a tree nut allergy, do not eat any foods containing tree nuts. The protein is passed through breast milk.

Note – There is a very high risk of cross contamination during the processing and packaging of nuts. For that reason, many allergists recommend that if you are allergic to one type of nut, you stay away from all tree nuts and all products that list "nuts" as an ingredient, even if you are allergic to only one type of nut. Consult with your physician before eating any type of nut.

Which Foods and other Products Contain Tree Nuts?

Tree nuts can be found in a number of surprising places, both food and non-food. It is commonly found in a variety of non-food products, such as cosmetics, “spa treatments”, scrubs, sunscreens, soaps, shampoos, craft materials, conditioners, lotions, creams, ointments, bird seed, pet food, vitamins, massage oils, bean bags, kick bags/sacks, hack sacks, and more.

Always read all labels for foods and personal products. Manufacturers occasionally change recipes and manufacturing processes.

Note - Adopt the rule, “No label, no thank you!” Read the ingredient label every time you purchase a product. The ingredients can change at anytime. When eating out at the house of family or friends, or in a restaurant, do not eat a food if you don’t know the exact ingredients and how it was prepared.

These Foods Contain Tree Nuts

These Foods May Contain Tree Nuts

Always read all labels, even for foods you wouldn’t expect to contain nuts. I recently picked up a package of rice that I had bought for several years only to find it is now packaged on the same line as nuts.


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