Coconut allergy

Not a true nut (along with chestnut, pine nut, tiger nut, doughnut etc), classified as a fruit, from palm family. Allergy is pretty rare, but is possible, usually only seen in people with other allergies.  Associated with macadamia, almond, walnut, hazelnut, lentil and latex allergy.

The major allergens are storage proteins, so not affected by heat.

In EU, does not have to be specifically highlighted on labels, but in US FDA do include it under nuts!

Other names , particularly when used in cosmetics:

Cocos, cocamide sulphate, cocamide DEA, CDEA, Cocamidopropyl betaine.

People who react when they eat coconut don’t necessarily have a problem with it on their skin, but this may depend on whether they have eczema.  Where people do react to skin products, complicated, because one of the intermediates in manufacturing (found at very low level) appears to be a more likely cause of type 1 reactions than coconut itself or one of the listed coconut derivatives.

Contact dermatitis triggered by coconut much more common than type 1 allergy.

Sources of coconut:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Snowball type sweets
  • Bounty chocolate bars and similar
  • Indian or other Asian sweets
  • Some flavoured rums eg Malibu, and cocktails eg Pina Colada