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Peanut Allergy Diet

General guidelines for peanut allergy

The key to an allergy-free diet is to stay away from all foods or products containing the food to which you are allergic. If you are allergic to peanuts, you will need to stay away from peanuts and foods that contain peanuts. You will need to read all food labels.

How to read a label for a peanut-free diet

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) is a law that requires U.S. packaged foods to state clearly on the label if they contain peanuts. In addition to peanuts, stay away from foods with any of these ingredients:

  • Artificial nuts

  • Beer nuts

  • Ground nuts

  • Mixed nuts

  • Monkey nuts

  • Peanut butter

  • Peanut flour

  • Peanut oil. Many people with peanut allergy are able to eat highly refined peanut oil. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if you are able to eat foods cooked in refined peanut oil.

Foods that may contain peanuts

These foods may also contain peanuts:

  • African, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, and other ethnic dishes

  • Baked goods

  • Candy

  • Cereals

  • Chili, spaghetti sauce

  • Crackers

  • Egg rolls

  • Enchilada sauce

  • Flavoring (natural and artificial) 

  • Hydrolyzed plant protein

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

  • Ice creams, frozen yogurts, and nondairy frozen desserts

  • Marzipan

  • Nougat

Always read the entire ingredient label to look for peanuts. Peanut may be in the ingredient list. Or it could be listed in a “Contains: peanut” statement after the ingredient list.

Other sources of peanuts

These food sources may also contain peanuts:

  • Peanut oil that is cold-pressed, extruded, or expeller-expressed. But studies show that most people with allergies can safely eat foods containing highly refined peanut oil. Ask your healthcare provider if this is safe for you to eat.

  • Ethnic foods, commercially prepared baked goods, and candy. These can be cross-contaminated with peanuts since peanuts are often used in these types of foods.

  • Homemade chili and spaghetti sauce. These may be thickened with peanut butter or peanut flour.

  • Hydrolyzed plant and vegetable protein in imported foods. These proteins may be from peanuts. In the U.S., these proteins often come from soy.

Important points

Foods that don't contain peanuts could be contaminated during manufacturing. Advisory statements are not regulated by the FDA. They are voluntary. These include labels such as "processed in a facility that also processed peanut." Or "made on shared equipment." Ask your healthcare provider if you can eat products with these labels. Or you may need to stay away from them.

Some foods and products are not covered by the FALCPA law. These include:

  • Foods that are not regulated by the FDA

  • Cosmetics and personal care items

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicines and supplements

  • Toys, crafts, and pet foods

When you are eating out

  • Always carry 2 epinephrine autoinjectors. Make sure you and those close to you know how to use it.

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace with your allergy information.

  • If you don't have epinephrine autoinjectors, talk with your healthcare provider. Ask if you should carry them.

  • In a restaurant, food may be cross-contaminated with peanuts. Always let the server know that you have a peanut allergy.

  • Always ask about ingredients at restaurants. Do this even if these are foods that you have eaten in the past and even if it's a restaurant you have eaten at before.

  • Always read food labels.

  • Stay away from buffets with peanuts. This will help you avoid cross-contamination of foods with shared utensils.

Online Medical Reviewer: Deborah Pedersen MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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