Peanut (a legume)

  • About 3% of Americans suffer from peanut allergy.
  • Considered a common allergen, and likely increasing in prevalence.
  • Starts early in life, between 6 to 24 months of age.
  • Only 15% of people develop tolerance over their lifetime.

Relevance to Food Service

  • Be able to identify food or drink that is served or sold that contain Peanut protein.
  • Awareness that peanuts can readily cross-react with any other legume, such green peas or Red Kidney beans.
  • Care in preparation and service is critical to prevent cross-contact between the allergen-free food and the allergenic food.
  • Peanut butter is very sticky and is difficult to remove from prep surfaces and utensils – pay special attention to clean thoroughly any areas that are visibly soiled with peanut proteins as they can be a potent contact allergen.
  • Aggressive, physical cleaning (with hot soapy water) prior to sanitizing all food contact surfaces, including high-touch areas (chair backs, table edges) after each use.

Dietary Labeling for Peanut

Arachic oil


Arachis hypogaea

Arachis oil

Beer nuts


Chinese nuts

Crushed nuts

crushed peanuts


Flavored nuts

Goober nuts/peas

Ground peanuts

Ground nuts

HPP – Hydrolyzed peanut protein

Hydrolyzed veg protein



Mixed nuts

Monkey nuts

Dietary Labeling for Peanut


Nu nuts

Nut pieces



Peanut Brittle

Peanut butter – dry, powdered

Morsels, chips

Peanut flour

Peanut oil

Cold pressed



Peanut paste

Peanut Sauce

Peanut sprouts

Peanut syrup


Spanish peanuts

Virginia peanuts

May contain Peanut

Artificial flavoring

Artificial nuts

Baked goods


Boiled peanuts

Breakfast cereals



Chinese dishes



Crumb toppings


Dried fruit mixes

Egg rolls

Enchilada sauce

Ethnic Foods


Fried foods

Graham cracker crust


Health food bars

Ice creams


Mole sauce

Natural flavoring



Salad/salad dressing


Snack foods


Peanuts – What is the allergen?

Peanuts contain several allergenic proteins, including Ara h 1, 2, 3, and 6. These proteins are responsible for the majority of peanut allergies and are recognized as allergens by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ara h 1, 2, and 3 are the most significant peanut allergens and are responsible for the majority of peanut allergy reactions. These proteins are 2S albumins and are highly resistant to digestion, which makes them more likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Ara h 6 is a vicilin protein that has also been shown to cause allergic reactions in some individuals with peanut allergies.

The exact amino acid sequences of these allergenic proteins vary, but it is their overall structure and allergenic properties that make them a concern for those with peanut allergies. When a person with a peanut allergy ingests even small amounts of peanuts, their immune system can react to the allergenic proteins, leading to symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

It’s worth noting that not all peanut proteins are allergenic, and some may not cause an allergic reaction even in individuals with peanut allergies. However, as with all food allergies, it’s best to avoid peanuts altogether if you have a peanut allergy to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.