Peanut and tree nut allergies are two of the top eight most common food allergies. The other six are milk, eggs, soy beans, fish, shellfish, wheat and corn. Allergies to peanuts are generally a life-long condition, with only about 20 percent of people with the allergy ever receiving a remedy. In addition, up to 40 percent of people with peanut allergies are also allergic to tree nuts.
An allergic reaction can occur just by touching a surface with a trace amount of peanut butter and then touching one’s eye. Some of the serious reactions can be deadly; therefore, identifying an allergen such as peanuts or tree nuts in food processing is vital to protecting consumers. The challenge in controlling allergens such as peanuts and tree nuts involves the entire process at a food production plant. Identifying the allergens means using preventative measures to detect them, particularly when producing products with allergen sources such as nuts.