Peanuts and peanut oil are cheap and easy additives to food and other commercial goods. It is surprising (and alarming if you have a peanut allergy) the number of places this little legume can be made to work.

Here is a list of unusual places you may find peanuts and peanut byproducts:

  • • Baked goods. Biscuits, cereals, crackers, pastries, sweets and candies, nougat, chocolates, brownies. Peanuts can appear in any of these as a nut, an oil, or a cross contamination on baking surfaces.
  • • Ethnic foods. Egg rolls, Indonesian dishes, kebabs, marzipan, Thai dishes, vegetarian dishes (especially as an alternative source of protein), Asian food.
  • • Desserts and snacks. Ice creams, health bars, mixed nuts, muesli, granola and granola bars.
  • • Cooking basics. Peanut oil, natural flavorings, vegetable fats and oils, hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
  • • Sauces, often times as a thickener or a secret ingredient. Spaghetti sauces, chili sauce, hot sauce, mole, salad dressings, soups, pesto, bouillon/Worcestershire sauce.
  • • Beauty products. Cosmetics, moisturizers, massage oils, lotions, shampoos and creams, toothpaste, sunscreens (as arachis oil), vitamins, exfoliators, lip gloss, diaper cream, hair coloring.
  • • Animal care products. Animal and bird feeds, pet food (everything from hamsters to horses), kitty litter and animal bedding.
  • • Pharmaceutical drugs. Promethium (progesterone cream derived from peanuts).
  • • Lawn care. Lawn fertilizers, potting soils, compost accelerator and mulch.
  • • Household items. Bean bag chairs, hacky sacks, charcoal, wallboard, fireplace logs, mousetraps, insect bait, fiberboard shelving, burlap bags, scented markers, potpourri, “green” sponges.
  • • Industrial products. Industrial uses: paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish.

There are always traps. Remember that peanuts are often used to add texture to dishes, from the first course salad to the banana split dessert. Peanuts can also be made into powder and added to thicken gravies and sauces. Peanut milk is also available in some specialty food stores and could be used as a dairy substitute. Don’t forget that imported foods don’t have the same labeling requirements. Non-food exposures could occur from rental cars and cash money.

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