FDA’s Advice to Consumers on Peanut in Cumin

in Food Allergy, Peanut & Tree Nut
Published: February 19, 2015

The FDA issued the following recall advisory to consumers on February 18, 2015:

FDA Consumer Advice on Products Containing Ground Cumin with Undeclared Peanuts

The FDA is advising people who are highly allergic to peanuts to consider avoiding products that contain ground cumin or cumin powder, because some shipments of these products have tested positive for undeclared peanut protein. People who are highly allergic or sensitive to peanuts may be at risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction. Ground cumin may be sold as a spice, in a spice mix or kit, or as a minor ingredient when used in finished food products like soups and chilies. Most finished products are expected to have low amounts of ground cumin, and therefore low amounts of peanut protein. Products made before 2014 are unlikely to contain the affected ground cumin.

View a list of Recalled Products.

Who Should Know

Consumers with severe peanut allergies and those preparing food for people with peanut allergies.

What to Do

Consumers with severe peanut allergies and their caregivers should:

  • Review the list of recalled products and avoid these foods. They include ground cumin, seasoning mixes, and a variety of cooking “kits” which include “Tex-Mex” and Indian dishes.
  • When choosing a food, review the ingredients panel. Products, such as soups or chilies that contain only small amounts of the affected ground cumin may not contain enough peanut protein to trigger a reaction in most peanut-allergic people. However, people who are highly sensitive to peanuts may consider avoiding products that list “cumin.”
  • Realize that if the ingredients panel lists “spices,” it may or may not contain ground cumin.  People who are highly sensitive to peanuts may want to call the manufacturer to find out if the product contains cumin powder.
  • Realize that if symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as shortness of breath, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or hives, occur, stop eating the product and seek immediate medical care or advice.
  • Realize that if an allergic reaction occurs, you can contact your local FDA consumer complaint coordinator. To find yours, visit: FDA Consumer Complaints.


Why This Advice is Important

The FDA is continuing to identify companies that received shipments of the ground cumin that contained undeclared peanuts and work with them to remove these products from the market. While this investigation is underway, the FDA wants consumers who are highly allergic or sensitive to peanuts to consider taking precautions with any product—not just those that have been recalled—that contains ground cumin. The FDA will continue to update the list of recalled products.

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