Tree Nut Allergy

Tree nut allergy is in its own category in the top 8 most common food allergens It is not grouped together with peanut allergy as you might think. This is because tree nuts and peanuts grow differently and have different proteins that cause allergic reactions. Because of this, many people with a tree nut allergy can tolerate peanuts and vice versa. Also, it is possible to only be allergic to one type of tree nut, such as walnuts, and be able to tolerate other tree nuts, like almonds, just fine.


What makes managing peanut and tree nut allergies tricky? Well, a couple of things. First, peanuts and tree nuts are often produced and packaged in the same facilities on the same production lines. This means that the risk for cross-contamination is high. Second, peanut and tree nut allergies are usually not mild and often cause serious reactions.

In my experience, the most difficult part of managing these allergies in particular is preventing cross-contamination. From avoiding foods produced near peanuts and tree nuts to family gatherings at which nuts are present, managing a nut allergy can be a challenge.

Following are some resources to help you avoid tree nuts:

List of Tree Nuts
Ingredients to Watch For
Foods Commonly Containing Tree Nuts
Substitutes for Foods Containing Tree Nuts

List of Tree Nuts

The following chart is from the US Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. It includes all tree nuts that are required to be listed on food labels.

Common or usual name

Scientific name

Almond Prunus dulcis
Beech nut Fagus spp.
Brazil nut Bertholletia excelsa
Butternut Juglans cinerea
Cashew Anacardium occidentale
Chestnut (Chinese, American,
European, Seguin)
Castanea spp.
Chinquapin Castanea pumila
Coconut Cocos nucifera L.
(Arecaceae (alt. Palmae))
Filbert/hazelnut Corylus spp.
Ginko nut Ginkgo biloba L.


Hickory nut Carya spp.
Lichee nut Litchi chinensis Sonn.


Macadamia nut/Bush nut Macadamia spp.
Pecan Carya illinoensis


Pine nut/Pinon nut Pinus spp.
Pili nut Canarium ovatum Engl. in A. DC.


Pistachio Pistacia vera L.
Sheanut Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.


Walnut ( English, Persian, Black, Japanese,
California), Heartnut, Butternut
Juglans spp.

Ingredients Containing Tree Nuts

Following is a list of tree nuts and some ingredients that contain tree nuts:

  • Almond - butter, paste (marzipan), flavoring, extract
  • Brazil nut
  • Cashews - butter, flavoring, extract
  • Chestnuts (water chestnuts are OK, they're not nuts despite their name)
  • Hazelnuts or filberts
  • Hickory nuts
  • Macadamia nuts, Queensland nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts, pinon, pignoli
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Gianduja (chopped nuts mixed with chocolate)
  • Nu-Nuts artificial nuts
  • Nut Meal
  • Mashuga nuts (pecans)
  • Nougat
  • Nut paste
  • Nutella

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Foods Commonly Containing Tree Nuts

  • Baked Goods - breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, bars, pastries, doughnuts, frostings
  • Snack Foods - granola, granola bars, rice cakes, snack mixes, crackers, caramel corn
  • Asian Foods
  • Pesto
  • Salads
  • Candy - candy bars, brittles, chocolate, fudge, pralines, turtles, clusters

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