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Is Shea Butter Safe for Someone with a Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy?

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My child has an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. Is shea butter safe? Topically or for eating?

Shea nut butter is made from shea nuts. They are classified as tree nuts by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But studies have shown that a shea nut allergy is rare. According to current data, shea butter poses no known or likely risk to consumers. This includes people with a peanut or tree nut allergy.

Clinical literature provided no evidence to show that any allergic reactions have been reported to shea nut butter. Allergic reactions to shea nuts have not been described either. They are not commonly eaten.

Refined shea nut butter does not pose any known or likely allergic risk. This includes people with existing peanut or tree nut allergies. Everyone can safely use products containing refined shea butter. This is very reassuring information.

Please note, that this recommendation doesn’t guarantee a reaction won’t happen. Speak with your allergist to discuss this further.

Food Allergy, Peanut Allergy, Tree Nut Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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