The Danger of Hidden Allergens

As anyone with a food allergy knows, you have to be careful what you eat. But even common foods can have hidden allergens, that are not mentioned directly in ingredients or on menus.

Hidden Peanuts 

Peanut Allergy is one of the most common and most dangerous food allergies.

Remember: If you are in doubt about any product or dish, don’t eat it.
  • The following ingredients indicate the presence of peanut protein: Beer nuts, ground nuts, mixed nuts, and peanut (including peanut flour and peanut butter).
  • Peanut protein is found in Arachis oil, and in cold pressed, expressed, expelled, and extruded peanut oils.   Highly processed peanut oil has been shown to be safe for the vast majority of people individuals allergic to peanut.  As the degree of processing of commercial peanut oil may be difficult to determine, avoidance is prudent.
  • Nu-Nuts® and other artificial flavored nuts contain peanut protein.
  • Ethnic restaurants (such as Chinese, African, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese), bakeries, and ice cream parlors are considered high-risk for individuals with peanut allergy due to the common use of peanut and the risk of cross contamination— even if you order a peanut-free item.
  • Peanut butter and/or peanut flour have been used in chili and spaghetti sauce as thickeners.  Always ask if peanut was in the recipe.
  • Many candies and chocolates contain peanut or run the risk of cross contact with peanut protein.
  • Lupine or lupin is a legume that may cause an allergic reaction in those with peanut allergy.  Lupine is used in this country in many gluten-free and high-protein products.  In many European countries, particularly Italy and France, lupine flour and/or peanut flour may be mixed with wheat flour in baked goods.
  • Many tree nuts are processed with peanuts and therefore may contain trace amounts of peanut protein.  Extreme caution is advised.

Hidden Gluten

You probably won't be surprised to learn that cakes, cookies, and all the other floury snacks contain gluten. After all, they're made of wheat flour. T
he following list, on the other hand, may surprise you. These are foods that usually or often contain gluten. In some cases, wheat is added as a thickener; barley malt is often added as a form of natural flavor. You must read the labels of these items carefully to look for gluten-containing ingredients. Even better, look for products specifically labeled "gluten-free."
  • Beer Beverage mixes
  • Bologna Candy (many candies are gluten-free, so read labels)
  • Canned baked beans
  • Cold cuts
  • Packaged cereals, even corn cereals
  • Commercially prepared broth Commercially prepared chocolate milk
  • Commercially prepared soup
  • Custard Fruit fillings
  • Gravy Gum
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Potato chips
  • Root beer
  • Syrups
  • Salad dressing
  • Soy sauce
  • Vegetables with commercially prepared sauces 

Hidden Soy

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Lecithin
  • Monodiglyceride
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Natural flavoring
  • Vegetable broth
  • Vegetable gum
  • Vegetable starch


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