Peanut Allergy Diet
The only proven treatment for a person with food allergies is complete avoidance of the food (s)
he/she is allergic to. Peanut allergy is one of the top 8 food allergies in the United States.
Peanut allergy can be very dangerous. Peanut protein may be present in foods that you may not
expect. For example, peanuts are often found in Asian foods and candy but may also be present
in chili, soups, baked goods, marzipan and other sweets. Read labels with care but remember
that manufacturers sometimes change ingredients without warning. Check and recheck even the
“safe” foods you have bought before. When eating in a restaurant, be careful to explain the
restriction clearly to the wait staff and cooks so the food is not cooked or cross-contaminated
When cooking, thoroughly clean counters, utensils and pans that have had peanuts in or on them.
Cooking with peanuts and removing them does not work because the heat causes peanut protein
to seep into the food. For some very allergic people, even touching something that had peanuts
on it that was not thoroughly cleaned, will cause a reaction.
The Food Allergen and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 requires that foods must list
ingredients by their common names for the top 8 allergenic foods. The top 8 allergenic
foods in the United States are eggs, milk, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
Read labels each time you shop since manufacturers often change their ingredients.
Label ingredients which show the presence of peanut protein.
Mixed nuts/beer nuts/monkey nuts
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein or “groundnuts” (may be made from peanuts)
Peanut protein hydrolysate
Ingredients that may show the presence of peanuts.
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Chocolate candies
Egg rolls Enchilada sauce
Flavoring, natural or artificial Marzipan
Nougat Ground nuts
Chili Ethnic dishes
Avoid all foods that are produced on equipment shared with peanuts or other nuts. There
is a risk of cross contamination.
Studies show most peanut allergic people may safely eat peanut oil (sometimes called Arachis
oil), since it does not contain a large amount of protein, but not cold pressed, expelled or
extruded peanut oil-sometimes referred to as gourmet oils. Consult your doctor to determine if
you should avoid peanut oil.
Bread products made
Any bread, biscuits,
doughnuts, muffins, egg
rolls, pancakes, pizzas, etc.
with peanuts or peanut
Candy without peanuts or
Any candy or candy bar
with peanuts or peanut
butter OR that is produced
on the same equipment as
peanut containing foods.
Desserts made without
Any dessert made with
peanuts or peanut products.
Read labels on commercial
Fats and oils
All fats and oils, except
extruded, cold-pressed or
expelled peanut oil.
Extruded, cold-pressed or
expelled peanut oil. Cross
contaminated oil at
restaurant or home where
peanut containing foods
Fruit cake with nuts.
Meat and meat substitutes
All meats, soy nut butter.
Chinese, Thai foods and
other Asian foods prepared
with peanuts. Peanut and
other nut butters. Egg rolls.
Peanuts, mandelonas, and
Milk, cheese and dairy
All milk, yogurt, cheese and
Any flavored yogurts
containing peanuts or cross
contamination with nuts.
Potatoes and pastas
Potatoes, rice, noodles,
macaroni and pasta that is
not prepared with peanuts.
Asian noodles cooked with
Sauces and Seasonings
All spices and herbs.
Soups without peanuts or
Soups prepared with peanut
butter, some chilis or stews.
All sugars; honey, jam, jelly
and syrups, ketchup,
mustard, and salad
Glazes or marinades, some
chili or hot sauces, pestos,
mole sauces or salad
dressings containing peanut
Vegetables prepared without
Deep fried vegetables cross
contaminated with peanut
Cautions and Tips
ξ Although an allergy to peanuts is fairly common, some people are very sensitive to
peanut protein. You should always have medicines to stop a serious allergy reaction on
ξ Peanuts are not true nuts; they are legumes. Some people also must avoid other foods in
the legume family (soy beans, peas, and garbanzo (chickpea) beans, if allergy to these has
been previously shown.
ξ People who are allergic to peanuts, which grow underground, are sometimes allergic to
tree nuts such as pecans, walnuts, cashews or almonds. Ask your doctor for more
information if you should avoid other tree nuts as well. Coconut is not a true tree nut, but
ask your doctor if you are okay to try coconut at home.
ξ Beware of commercially processed nuts. Peanuts, which are de-flavored, re-flavored and
pressed, can be sold as imitation almonds, walnuts or other nuts.
ξ Seeds and other products are often processed at the same place as peanuts or tree nuts. If
you are unsure and the label doesn’t state this, call the food company to be sure.
Examples include M & M® candies or Jelly Belly® jelly beans.
Tips to Follow to Prevent an Allergic Reaction
1. Avoid foods that cause a reaction. Sometimes just touching foods can cause a reaction.
Wash hands often.
2. Read the ingredients lists on food labels to make sure allergy-causing foods are present.
Read the list even if you have had the product before. Ingredients may change.
3. If you are traveling, bring along some of your own special foods.
4. When eating out, always ask restaurant staff about ingredients in food and how it was
prepared. Cooking oils can have allergens.
Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin- http://foodallergywis.org/ or 608-575-9535
Peanut Allergy Homepage - http://www.peanutallergy.com
Kids with Food Allergies- http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org or (215) 230-5394 (a great
source for webinars, recipes, forums, product updates and recalls)
Food Allergy Research and Education www.foodallergy.org (a great resource for managing school,
travel and other situations with food allergies).
Batson, Bridget. Jude the Dude: The Peanut Allergy Kid. 2011.
Recob, Amy. The Bugabees. 2009.
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below.
You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #386
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department
of Nursing. HF#315