According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, peanuts are one of the most common food allergens. People who are allergic to peanuts may break out in hives, experience tingling in their mouths or have trouble breathing if they consume peanuts. Although traditional hummus consists of chickpeas, sesame oil and garlic, hummus manufacturers and restaurants may add other ingredients that can trigger a reaction.
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Prepackaged hummus should list its ingredients on the label. Read each ingredient carefully and watch for sources of peanuts, such as peanut oil and kernels. If you're allergic to any of the ingredients or if the list uses ambiguous terms, like natural flavoring, don't purchase the hummus. Also, avoid products that might contain traces of nuts or are manufactured on equipment shared with nuts. Some countries, including the United States, require manufacturers to provide this information on product labels.
Hummus in Restaurants
Ask the staff for all the ingredients contained in the hummus and if the kitchen staff takes extra steps to avoid cross-contamination, including separating equipment used with nuts from equipment not used with nuts. If a large percentage of a restaurant's dishes contain nuts, you might not want to eat there due to the increased likelihood of cross-contamination. Avoid restaurants that refuse to provide you with a list of ingredients or give a simple answer about the safety of their foods. They might not be aware of every ingredient that contains peanuts.
Prepackaged Hummus From Foreign Countries
Some stores may sell hummus from foreign sources and the ingredients may be listed in a foreign language. If you don't understand the list of ingredients, don't purchase the item. Additionally, manufacturers from some countries may not be required to state whether their products are made on equipment shared with nuts or if traces of nuts may be present.
Eating Hummus Safely
Make a list of spices, additives and other ingredients derived from peanuts. Take it with you to the grocery store and to restaurants so you can check it against a product's listed ingredients. Always read the label for all foods you're considering buying, even if you've been buying them for years; the ingredients can change at any time. If your child eats at a school cafeteria, alert the school about his peanut allergy before his first day. The staff might be able to accommodate your child's needs. If you can't find hummus that's safe to eat, make your own using a food processor and an allergen-free recipe.