Peanuts are listed as a priority allergen in Canada. This page focuses on facts specific to peanut allergy, available resources, and special considerations related to this allergen.
Facts about peanut allergy
- Contrary to popular belief, peanuts are not nuts, but legumes.
- Peanut allergy is estimated to affect 2.4% of children and 0.7% of adults[ii].
- It is estimated that 20% of children allergic to peanuts will outgrow their allergy with time [iii]. Unfortunately, there is a risk of recurrence of the outgrown allergy, when the food is not included regularly in the diet. This should be discussed with an allergist [iv].
- People with peanut allergies usually tolerate other legumes such as peas, lentils, and beans.
- It is estimated that 25% to 40% of individuals allergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts[v]. These are considered two separate allergies.
- By 2016, 17 allergenic proteins capable of inducing an allergic reaction had been identified in peanuts [vi]. A person with peanut allergy may react to one or more of these proteins.
- Except for vegetarians and vegans, a single allergy to peanuts does not present a risk of nutritional deficiency. However, when multiple allergies are present, consultation with a nutritionist is important. The nutritionist can work to ensure a healthy, balanced diet despite multiple restrictions.
|Cross-allergies with peanuts
|Other legumes (peas, lentils, beans)
|Terms that may indicate the presence of peanuts (non-exhaustive list)
||Kernels (shelled nuts)
||Vegetable groundnut proteins
|Hydrolyzed peanut vegetable proteins
|Health Canada’s food allergen labelling regulations established in 2012 prohibit use of the these terms. Manufacturers must clearly indicate the presence of peanuts in their product using the words “Contains” or “May contain.” However, it is important to keep these terms in mind when travelling, as regulations vary from one country to another. In some cases, it may also be useful to know them when we are offered artisanal products.
|Foods that are likely sources of peanuts (non-exhaustive list)
|Dehydrated soups or sauces in sachets (with peanut flavourings)
||Grenoble nuts (dearomatized peanuts, rearomatized)
||Thai or Asian dishes (e.g. imperial or spring rolls, sauce)
||Chili (ready-made meal)
||Almond or hazelnut paste
|Foods that are possible sources of peanuts (non-exhaustive list)
|Possible sources of peanuts in commonly used products (non-exhaustive list)
||Drugs, vitamins, and supplements
|Mushroom growing media
||Creams and sunscreens
|Food for animals and birds
|Note: To find out if common products contain peanuts, it is important to read the labels and contact the manufacturer. Food allergen labelling regulations apply only to packaged foods, they do not apply to non-food products.
|Peanuts replacements and cooking without peanuts
- Peanuts: roasted chickpeas, sunflower seeds, cashews, soy nuts, almonds, macadamia nuts (in the absence of a nut allergy)
- Peanut butter: sunflower seed butter, hummus, nut butter (in the absence of a nut allergy), soy butter, pea butter
* The lists of foods and ingredients presented in the table are not exhaustive and are given for information only.
Recipes and resources for people with peanut allergy
Subscribe for free to food recall notices from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
[http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/util/listserv/listsube.shtml?foodrecalls_rappelsaliments] and MAPAQ
 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. (2017). Addendum guidelines for the prevention of peanut allergy in the United States. Repéré à https://www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/peanut-allergy-prevention-guidelines-parent-summary.pd…
[ii] Soller, S et coll. (2015). Adjusting for nonresponse bias corrects overestimates of food allergy prevalence. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 3(2), 291-293. DOI 10.1016/j.jaip.2014.11.006
[iii] Skolnick, H. S. et coll. (2001). The natural history of peanut allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 107(2), 367-74. DOI 10.1067/mai.2001.112129
[iv] Fleischer, D. M. et coll. (2003). The natural progression of peanut allergy : Resolution and the possibility of reccurence. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 112(1), 183-89. DOI 10.1067/mai.2003.1517
[v] Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). (2016). Peanut Allergy. Repéré à https://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/peanut-allergy
[vi] Bavaro, S. L. et Monaci, L. (2016). Peanut allergy and strategies for allergenicity reduction. Austin Journal of Allergy, 3(1), 1022.