As we discussed in a blog post earlier this month, The Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconuts as tree nuts, however, it is classified as a fruit and not as a botanical nut.
Most people who are allergic to tree nuts can still eat coconuts, though there is a small percentage of people who can’t. So how is this possible? Similar proteins are often shared between foods that are close biological cohorts. This is referred to as “cross-reactivity,” meaning a person allergic to one food may also react to another if they contain that same food protein.
But in the case of the coconut, it is only distantly related to tree nuts. So at this time, there is no general recommendation that people with tree nut allergies avoid coconuts. For those who think they might have an allergy to coconuts, you should talk it over with your doctor who could test separately for this allergen and advise you how to move forward.
Anyone out there who does have an allergy to coconut want to weigh in on our discussion?
For additional information, visit these websites: https://www.fda.gov/forindustry/fdabasicsforindustry/ucm238807.htm