Let’s be real, food allergies can be confusing. And scary. And ever-changing. That’s why we’re so passionate about being more than just a company that sells Amulets, but also a source of information to help you and your loved ones navigate the tricky terrain of food allergy management.
So, you’re allergic to peanuts. Did you know peanuts aren’t actually nuts?! That’s right, they’re legumes! Legumes are a family of edible seeds that grow in plant pods—think peas, beans, and lentils. A peanut is actually a closer relative to a pea than a nut.
Understandably, this may cause some confusion.
Am I allergic to peas if I’m allergic to peanuts?
Not necessarily. First off, there isn’t a test on the market to differentiate a pea allergy from cross-reactivity with peanut. However, one study found 35% of people with a peanut allergy tested positive for allergies to other legumes, but only 5% actually experienced allergic symptoms upon exposure to legumes. Moreover, if you are allergic to legumes, you may be allergic to one type but not all.
One type of legume, lupin (also known as lupine), may pose a higher risk than other legumes for people with a peanut allergy. Lupin is a legume common in Europe and becoming more common in the U.S. It’s often used in flours and baked goods, and in some gluten-free pastas.
Should I worry about pea protein?
There’s been a good bit of chatter about pea protein and fear of cross-reactivity for those managing a peanut allergy. We’ve seen a major uptick over the past few years in pea protein being added to foods to increase the protein content, which can be especially enticing for those maintaining a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan diet. Peas are actually very high in protein—one cup of peas contains about eight grams of protein!
Pea protein is also added to food products as a binder and is common in many manufactured meat and plant-based meat products to up the protein value. You may also find it in dairy alternatives, protein bars, cookies, flours, pasta, and gluten-free and “free from” foods.
Do any food allergy labeling laws apply?
According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), nationally distributed packaged foods containing any of the “top nine” major food allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, eggs, milk, soy, and sesame) must be identified in plain language (easy to read and understand) and listed in either the ingredients section OR in a “contains” statement, which usually follows the ingredients list. You can learn more about FALCPA in our previous post.
We hope this information brings you some peas of mind 😜 when it comes to managing these food allergies.
— Meg and the Amulet Team