Expanding on the FARE Blog post, Is Nutmeg a Nut? there may be some other festive allergens you need to be aware of this Christmas.
As well as adding spices and nuts to food, cosmetics manufacturers also add them to soaps, creams, handwashes and other beauty products to make them more festive. Always check labels on products carefully as there is no law to state allergens on non-food items.
Spices are mostly plant derived, so can have an effect on those prone to allergies, particularly those sensitised to pollen.
Nutmeg is NOT a nut, but is a dried ground seed, so may cause issues if you suffer from other seed allergies such as sesame.
Cinnamon is derived from from the bark of a genus of trees and is a known allergen (although it fails to make the top 14 in the UK). It is known to cause eczema and asthma symptoms.
Nuts are everywhere at Christmas, so it is an especially hard time of the year for those who are anaphylactic to nuts. Even for those who are allergic to only certain tree nuts or peanuts there are major issues with cross contamination at a processing level.
You may think that alcohol is a safe bet this Christmas, although it can contain high levels of histamine, but there are many products which contain nuts, dairy, wheat and egg. There is an extensive list at Nut Free Ninja of alcohol containing nuts and more information on why wine often contains traces of milk protein at GoDairyFree.org. Cocktails whilst out and about can never be safe due to cross contamination issues with mixing.
Stuffings, Gravy and Sauces are a mine of hidden allergens, food additives and preservatives which may not be good for those suffering with multiple allergies. They often may contain wheat and/or gluten, nuts, seeds or milk.
It can be hard work, but it’s all worth it to have a safe Christmas, keep reading those labels and educating your family and friends.