The walnut crop globally has suffered several crop failures, leading to shortages. Some companies are substituting peanuts for them in foods, leading an expert in Britain to voice concerns about allergen implications.
Professor Chris Elliot is advising people to be extra-vigilant when eating foods that claim to contain walnuts but not peanuts. “There have been a lot of crop failures in walnuts around the world. I am worried we will see the substitution of peanuts for walnuts, which can kill people,” Professor Elliott, of Queen’s University Belfast, told The Independent.
The professor says that at least one case of peanut substitution lead to a patron’s death at a takeout restaurant. He suspects that deaths of this sort are more common than anticipated.
Walnut prices have jumped about fifty percent in the past month due to heavy rains in the Kashmir region destroying crops. Similarly, frosts in Argentina ruined the harvest. Peanuts, however, have dropped in price due to an over-abundance of crop.
Professor Elliot was a lead investigator into the horse meat scandal last year and has also investigated substitutions in foods claiming to contain pomegranate, another growing concern.