Prepared Foods July 12, 2004 enewsletter

Scientists have found traces of nut allergens in seemingly nut-free processed foods in the U.S. that could be potentially fatal to allergy sufferers.

Scientists at Florida State University said almonds, cashews and walnuts are tree nuts most often implicated in potentially fatal food allergies, and improper food labeling could be very dangerous to consumers who are allergic.

The scientists were attempting to rid nuts of the proteins that trigger allergic responses through radiation, roasting, pressure cooking and a variety of other methods, but their efforts yielded no success. Instead, they developed powerful new detection techniques for nut allergens.

”Development of specific, robust, sensitive and reproducible assays for tree-nut detection will help protect sensitive consumers who must rely upon accurate labeling,” they said.