Is Coconut a nut or is it not?
Did you know that in the United States, they consider coconut a tree-nut? So, if you buy any form of coconut snack with an allergen statement saying it’s ‘tree-nut free’ in Canada, you won’t see that allergen statement on that snack in the United States.
Our question to you is: is coconut a nut or not? We asked fellow Instagram followers to help with this question and after 20 minutes 0% Yes and 100% No and in the end of the 24 hours, it is still a clear vote a for ‘No’.
To help you figure this out on your own opinion, here’s some facts that we've gathered to help with this nutty debate.
While a coconut has a hard shell and a seed, however, a coconut isn’t considered to be a true nut: true nuts (such as walnuts and pecans) are indehiscent (that is, they don’t split open to release their seeds when ripe). Source: Oxford Dictionaries http://bit.ly/2ETZhNh
Coconut is included in the list of tree nuts by the FDA. Section 201(qq) of the Act defines the term "major food allergen" to include "tree nuts." Source: FDA http://bit.ly/2og5dXE
“Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut. If you are allergic to tree nuts, talk to your allergist before adding coconut to your diet.” Source: https://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/tree-nut-allergy
“The coconut is actually a fibrous one-seeded drupe, which is a category of fruit. While some could argue that nuts are also one-seeded fruits and that therefore coconuts are also nuts, they lack any other botanical characteristics of nuts.”
A nut is technically also a fruit, but a very different kind than the coconut is. While the coconut has three layers around the seed, a nut only has one.” Source: http://vegetarian.lovetoknow.com/Is_a_Coconut_a_Nut
Should I avoid coconut and nutmeg if I have a tree nut allergy? Coconut and nutmeg are not considered tree nuts for the purposes of food allergen labelling in Canada and are not usually restricted from the diet of someone allergic to tree nuts. A coconut is a seed of a fruit and nutmeg is obtained from the seeds of a tropical tree. However, some people allergic to tree nuts have also reacted to coconut and nutmeg. Consult your allergist before trying coconut- or nutmeg-containing products. Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/reports-publications/food-safety/tree-nuts-priority-food-allergens.html
First fact to point out is fact number 3. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology states “while allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut.” Hopefully they were more specific with that allergic reaction being documented because that allergic reaction to coconut could just be from having an allergic reaction to that fruit, not because it’s considered a tree-nut.
You wouldn’t put ‘tree-nuts’ in the list of what you are allergic to, just list whatever specific ones you’re allergic to.
If you are ever skeptical on this debate the one place to get your answer is to visit your doctor and take your allergy tests.