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Items that “may contain” – some may surprise you!

The US FDA requires labeling laws apply to food products only!  This means that peanuts, peanut oil, almond oil, and other allergens can be an ingredient in non-food items, but will not be listed.  Many personal products and lotions say they are made with, or contain oils, almonds, or nut butters.  If you have an allergy and the ingredients are not listed, make sure to call the manufacturer to be sure the product is safe.

Since my daughter has a peanut allergy, I am going to focus on things that “may contain” peanuts, shells, or skins.  Some are surprising!


  • European chocolate (nuts are not always required to be listed on the label)
  • Deli meat slicers – some meats contain nuts (mortadella) or are browned/fried in peanut oil
  • Plant sterols derived from peanut – found in some “heart healthy” orange juice, yogurt, etc.
  • Avoid any foods that contain these ingredients… beer nuts, cold pressed peanut oil, ground nuts, mixed nuts, Nu-Nuts flavored nuts, marzipan, nouget, hydrolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Som foods that typically contain peanut protein: African, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnameses dishes


  • Hamster/rodent food and bedding
  • Dog food and treats
  • Bird seed/feed and SUET
  • Cat food, treats, and kitty litter
  • Livestock feed – especially dairy cattle feed
  • Peanut hay


  • Some lawn fertilizer
  • Potting soil may contain ground peanut shells
  • Packaged flower seeds
  • Compost accelerator/additives
  • Some insect granules
  • Axle Grease
  • Explosives


  • Avoid products made with ARACHIS HYPOGAEA (aka peanut) and ARACHIS OIL (aka peanut oil)
  • Stuffed animals (sometimes stuffed with crushed peanut shells)
  • Hacky sacks/sacks for playing bags
  • Seasoned baking stones – that have previously made pb cookies
  • Cutting boards oiled with peanut oil
  • Artificial Fireplace logs
  • Roach/ant bait disks
  • Wallboard and Fiberboard shelving
  • Burlap bags
  • Potpourri – whole nuts may be present
  • Ink
  • Metal Polishers
  • Peanuts have a variety of industrial end uses, particulary the oil: paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish, insecticides and nitroglycerin
  • Oil for wooden musical instruments
  • Peanut scented fishing lures


  • Cosmetics, lotions, massage oils, sunscreens, tanning oils, shampoos, and conditioners can contain peanuts/peanut oil (it may be listed as arachis oil or arachidyl behenate)
  • Exfoliators that contains ground nut shells
  • Atrovent® inhalation aerosol asthma medication
  • Prometrium® (synthetic progesterone)
  • Ear wax remover drops
  • Dental cleaner or Flouride at the dentist’s office (some contain pine nuts)

Is it worth dying?

People say that knowledge is power.  When it comes to my allergic daughter I couldn’t agree more.  The more I know about what is safe and not safe, the better I am at protecting her.

What if you get conflicting information or just aren’t sure about a product?  What if the ingredients label is missing?  What if the item is home-made?  The best advice I have gotten and can give is to just avoid the food/product.  Do not use the try it and see method.  It can result in a very bad reaction, including anaphylaxis.  So if I am ever doubting if something is safe or not, I always think… is it really worth letting her have a reaction, having to use her Epipen, having to call 911, and possibly dying?  Is allowing her to eat this food really worth her dying?  Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Applaud the Allergic!

My oldest daughter, Bean, was diagnosed with an egg allergy, and severe peanut allergy at 18 months.  That was the start of our journey of allergy doctors, carrying Epipens, and reading labels TWICE.  I worry about her at school, at friend’s homes, anywhere out of my site.  Not knowing any better, this became our norm.  Since she was so young when she was diagnosed and because she was our only child, we didn’t know any better.  We just played the cards we were dealt, and have managed to just deal with it.

In comparison, my younger daughter, Bubbles, is mildly lactose intolerant, but does not have any food allergies.  I have come to realize that having a child with and having a child without food allergies is such a world of difference!  It’s easy.  No label reading, no carrying an Epipen, no allergy doctors, and no worry.

Having a food allergy is not simple or easy or no big deal.  It is a huge deal.  It is terrifying to live with, and it’s a lot or work keeping the allergic person safe.  It may just become second nature to those who deal with it on a daily basis, but you are true Allergy Warriors and I applaud you!

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