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Tree nut allergy

Information provided in co-operation with the Informall project.

Allergies to tree nuts and seeds tend to be of a more severe nature, causing life-threatening and sometimes fatal reactions. People with tree nut allergies also often suffer from reactions triggered by a number of different types of nuts, even though they do not come from closely related plant species. In general these allergies are triggered by the major proteins found in nuts and seeds which are resist processes such as cooking.

There is also a milder form of tree nut allergy which is associated with birch pollen allergy, where symptoms are confined largely to the mouth, causing a condition called “oral allergy syndrome” (OAS). This condition is triggered by molecules found in tree nuts which are very similar to pollen allergens like the major birch pollen allergen called Bet v 1. These molecules tend to be destroyed by cooking, which can reduce the allergenicity of nuts and seeds for these allergic consumers.

Reactions to nuts and seeds can also occur as a consequence of hidden nut ingredients or traces of nuts and certain seeds introduced as a consequence of food handling or manufacturing. As a result tree nuts and seeds have been included in Annex IIIa of the EU food labelling directive. The following (including products thereof) must be declared on a label if they have been deliberately included in a food:

Table of nuts and foods containing nuts


Nuts (shelled fruit including peanuts)

Ingredients containing nuts (may not be allergenic)

Examples of prepared foods that may contain (traces of) nuts


Peanut oil

Bread and bakery products


Hazelnut oil

Pastry products (incl. pies)


Walnut oil

Cakes and cake mixes


Coconut oil

Doughs (various)

Brazil nut

Almond oil

Chocolate and bonbons


Nut liquor

Salad Dressings




Macadamia nuts


Egg based dumplings

Pine nuts



Cashew nuts


Convenience foods













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