Monday, July 26, 2010

Is Coconut a Tree Nut?

This is a question that seems to get a different response, depending on who you ask. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)...
"Coconut, the seed of a drupaceous fruit, has typically not been restricted in the diets of people with tree nut allergy. However, in October of 2006, the FDA began identifying coconut as a tree nut. The available medical literature contains documentation of a small number of allergic reactions to coconut; most occurred in people who were not allergic to other tree nuts. Ask your doctor if you need to avoid coconut."
And according to
"Whether coconut should be considered a tree nut is a matter of some controversy. The FDA
mandates that coconut be considered a tree nut for labeling purposes; however, as the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network notes, coconut allergies are exceedingly rare, with fewer than 10 reported cases. A June 2007 study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunologyindicated cross-reactivity between coconuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts in one patient. Your allergist can advise you on the suitability of coconut for your diet."

Sometimes, it can be very difficult to discern product labels. If you read all of the ingredients and you do not see any nuts listed and then the statement that follows the list reads, "Contains Tree Nuts." If you are like me, you probably put the product back on the shelf and scratched your head. Well, it most likely contained a coconut product.

Last time we visited with our allergist she said that Ella is safe to eat coconut. And just because she is allergic to every nut under the sun, it doesn't mean that she will be allergic to coconut. Which is a big relief, because she loves it like an Islander. And thankfully, it has never given her a problem. But I continue to be confused by the contoversy surrounding its FDA classification. I guess we all have to discuss the matter with our doctors and go with what feels right. And last night, I felt like making a coconut cake and covering it with loads of toasted coconut.

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