Friday, August 1, 2008

Surprise!

So most of the folks who've been at this peanut allergy game for even a little while know that peanut butter is hidden in lots of food, including stews (and chili), sauces (like enchilada sauce or thai satay sauce), and baked goods (cookies, fudge, etc.). I wont bore you with a list but you can learn more here and here.

But I've noticed an increasing trend in using nut flours in recipes and the not-so-new trend in using them to create gluten free breads and foods.

I know that lots of products catch my eye in Whole Foods when they have a claim on the label of gluten free - those companies are usually great about their ingredient lists and warning labels. But most of those items are off limits for us because they have nuts.

Now don't get me wrong, those gluten free products are allergen free (wheat's an allergen of course). But just because an item claims to be allergy friendly or gluten free, it doesn't mean it's nut or peanut free (or egg or dairy or top 8 free for that matter) so we need to watch out for them.

And we also need to watch out for those innocent looking foods with a dangerous surprise inside. Look at these, for example:

Cute little tomato burgers, huh? Well, the bun is loaded with almond flour.

This really brings home the reality that you can't tell just by looking at something if it contains nuts. I have to say honestly, that if I saw these on a platter I would probably let Bella have it. I'm so used to interrogating (yes, that's probably the right word) hosts about desserts and foods that are the usual culprits (dips, sauces) that this probably would have slipped right by me (with possibly disastrous results).

And when it comes to seeing a sandwich on white bread, I might do the same and let Bella have it without asking, but I know I need to be more vigilant because that innocent piece of bread may have a nutritional boost from nut flour.

Always remember to ask what's in your food and to read your labels - and just looking for the warning label isn't enough. Many foods still don't have a may contain warning even when your allergen is an ingredient.

6 comments:

Melissa said...

My latest unexpected peanut find? New vanilla/chocolate Cocoa Puffs! My PA/TNA daughter loves regular Cocoa Puffs so we looked at the vanilla/choc ones and I noticed the allergen warning first, looked at the ingredients and PEANUT FLOUR was used! Yikes.

Collegegirl said...

So I am allergic to soy, wheat, gluten, nuts (peanuts), tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. It makes me SO MAD when I try to find yummy things and I see that it was make in a nut or soy factory-GRRR. I feel your pain!
~Elyse~
PS- Thanks for the reminder!!!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Oh yea, with a son that's allergic to wheat, rye, barley, oat, egg, milk, peanut and tree nut that darn Almond Flour sure makes things interesting. And did you know that all gluten free flour has the possibility of being cross contaminated because of our lovely friend Almond Flour? I'd like to wipe Almond Flour, or any nut flour for that matter, right off the stinkin' map.

Jenny said...

Thanks for this warning. I've found gluten-free foods to be extremely incompatible with a "nut-free" way of life. That's too bad!

Jenny said...

P.S. I'm with the commenter who wants to wipe "almond flour" off the map, as well as "peanut flour." They are too easily hidden in foods and provide a real risk for the nut-allergic.
Let's zap them with our super powers!!!

Nicole said...

Another source that I've noticed getting more prelevant with peanut meal (flour) is pet foods. I am thinking that with the prices of most items going up up up - that replacing other flours with peanut flour is a way to cut down on cost. Too bad it continues to limit the things we can eat :-(