You may be surprised to find that peanut butter is used to make many products. Someone who has a peanut allergy has probably had a reaction to peanuts that is not easily forgotten. If this is you or your child, you have most likely been diagnosed as having a peanut allergy by your doctor. Since there are no cures for this condition, you need to avoid all peanut products.
It is easy to substitute sunflower seed butter for peanut butter that is used to make peanut butter sandwiches or peanut butter cookies. The real difficulty is finding out which products have peanut butter or peanuts as a hidden ingredient.
Manufacturers of Processed Foods Are Required To List Peanuts
You have probably noticed that packages of peanut butter crackers, cookies, and many other foods have a warning on them that peanuts were used in this product. This is mandated by the federal government because a peanut allergy can cause serious reactions, including anaphylaxis. You can avoid accidentally eating peanuts by carefully reading the labels on all processed foods before eating them. This is especially true of any snack food or premade food that is individually wrapped, including crackers, cookies, or candy.
Peanut Butter Is Often Hidden
Although manufacturers of processed foods are required by law to list peanuts on their ingredient list, there are other foods that do not fall under this ruling. You may see a delicious-looking salad in your supermarket deli that looks safe to eat. A list of ingredients is not always available, and workers may not be sure if peanuts are included in the salad. In this case, it is safer not to eat this product. Any premade or ready-to-eat food should be checked for peanut butter or peanut content before eating.
Foods That Contain Peanut Butter or Peanuts
As you are looking for the less obvious use of peanuts in products that you may buy at the supermarket, keep in mind that many baked goods, candy, chocolate, or nougat products contain peanut butter. Less obvious foods that may contain peanut butter are canned chili, flavoring, graham cracker crust, crumb topping, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or hydrolyzed plant protein. These foods may or may not contain peanuts and they do not necessarily need to post them on the label if they are contained in the food. An example of this would be a package of graham cracker crust in a plastic bag that is sold as a bakery product.
Be Cautious with Ethnic Foods
Ethnic foods such as African, Asian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, or Mexican packaged meals at your supermarket must be labeled that they contain peanuts if they do. Chicken Curry or Satay Noodle frozen meals are examples of frozen meals that often contain peanut products. When you eat at an ethnic restaurant, you can ask the manager if a certain dish contains peanuts before eating it. Be sure to have a current prescription of your epinephrine with you in case you have an unexpected reaction while dining out.