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post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello Folks.  Need some help and advice that I think should be a concern for all smokers.  NUT ALLERGIES!  I had never given this any thought before but I read a short article ( don't remember where ) that said something about the oil in the nuts is what causes the allergic reaction and that the oil may also be transferred through the smoke from the wood to the food being smoked.  My FIL has a nut allergy.  It seems to be mostly cashews but he just doesn't want to risk ANY nuts as you can imagine.  It is just LUCK that I have yet to use nut wood for anything he has eaten.


My advice is always if you have ANY doubt don't use it but I am just wondering if anyone has any verifiable info one way or the other.  I know many of us smoke for friends and family.  Sometimes for large crowds.  If this is a real risk we should ALL be concerned.


I DO remember it being an obscure reference and provided very little info that was verifiable but it did concern me.  It did sound to me to be a logical "possibility".  I have tried to find an answer but not anything you could take to the bank.


So there it is folks.  IF IN DOUBT LEAVE IT OUT! or does someone know the "the rest of the story"?  All help appreciated.  Keep Smokin!


post #2 of 13


I have never thought of it that way. I use a lot of "nut wood" and nut shells for that matter. To the best of my knowledge I don't know anyone with nut allergies. I am interested in knowing if their is any merit to this. I am thinking no simple because hickory is one of the most common woods here in the states.

Happy smoken.


post #3 of 13
You could ask your father-in-law to ask his allergist. They'd probably know.
post #4 of 13

I did a Google search for "Allergies and smoking with nut wood" and did not find any issues for people with allergies reacting to the smoked product. That said, there are just too many options for wood smoke.  I'd rather be safe than sorry.   

post #5 of 13

thanks for the info on nut allergies.


post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello.  I thought about that too David.  Almost all store bought bacon is smoked with hickory.  My only thought is that you don't actually eat hickory nuts??  Maybe they aren't the same??


Hi Andrew.  He doesn't have an allergist as such.  He had one attack, went to ER then had the test done and confirmed.


I have since remembered a Man vs Food segment about a pretty famous ( in Tx. ) BBQ restaurant near Austin and they use oak for heat and then throw on pecan shells.  I have never been there so I don't know if a warning is posted but they feed A LOT of people.  SURLY there MUST be folks with nut allergies coming in.  Because of the uncertainty I will not be using nut woods when cooking for FIL.  I do worry about cooking for a larger party where the history of everyone is not always known.  I was just hoping maybe someone had the "low down" on this subject.  Thanks for the replies.  Keep Smokin ( with or without nut wood )!


post #7 of 13

Unfortunately allergies are on the increase, and nut allergies are very common.  Depending on the degree of sensitivity, this will determine how bad the reaction will be.  If you are mildly sensitive to nuts you might just have a rash or feel a bit itchy, or if you have a severe reaction you will have what is called an "anaphylaxis reaction" which can be life threatening and you should seek hospital treatment immediately.  If you have been diagnosed with anaphylaxis you should be prescribed anti histamines and an adrenaline (epinephrine to American cousins) Epi-Pen, which is a pre-filled syringe that you inject into your leg yourself, and this should be carried with you everywhere.


An ellergic reaction occurs the second time you come into contact with the product (nuts etc), not the first.  This is because the first time your body comes into contact with the product your immune system reacts and prepares to fight, the second time you come into contact with the product your body reacts and goes into overdrive trying to fight the immune response. 


Exposure  normally occurs is 3 different ways,  The first is direct contact, eating, drinking or even touching.  the second is cross contact where the product or traces of the product have come into contact with another product accidentally. The third is inhalation, and covers dust, spray (from oil), fine airborne particles, and smoke which are microscopic particles of the products that you are burning.


I know I have given you a very in depth and long winded answer, where I could have simply said "yes you could get an allergic reaction" but as i have personally witnessed anaphlaxis shock, where  the onset of symptoms is immediate, and can become life threatening within minutes I want everyone to know that it should be taken seriously.


There is a lot of information online regarding anaphlaxis, and I can point you towards a couple of excellent websites, but if you want me to post the different symptoms I am more than happy to do so.


Sorry for the Doom & Gloom!

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Way HEY!  So what you are saying in a nut shell ( so to speak ) is that it is possible for someone with nut allergies to have an allergic reaction to food smoked with nut wood???  Not challenging your claim but what about hickory?  Hickory nuts are not eaten??  I just want to understand.  Keep Smokin!


post #9 of 13

With all the information that I have read is that it could.


The following extracts are individual views and reports, and not clinical trials.   I suppose it also depends on how bad the person reacts to the substance. below are the extracts from a couple of documents.  I have not cherry picked the information. so this is both sides of the arguement.  


Although a small amount of peanut protein can set off a severe reaction, it is rare that people get an allergic reaction just from breathing in small particles of nuts or peanuts, since the protein has to be ingested (swallowed) to cause a reaction. Most foods with peanuts in them don't allow enough of the protein to escape into the air to cause a reaction. And just the smell of foods containing peanuts won't produce a reaction because the scent does not contain the protein. In very rare cases when people do react to airborne particles, it's usually in an enclosed area (like a restaurant or bar) where lots of peanuts are being cracked from their shells. The person inhales and then swallows the protein, and this can lead to a reaction when the protein gets digested.

The particles in smoke are tiny bits of solids and liquids made of incompletely burned wood. When you breathe air with wood smoke in it, you inhale the fine particles deeply into your lungs. The particles contain toxic substances that can remain in your lungs for months, causing changes that lead to diseases and structural damage. Most wood smoke particles are 2.5 microns (µm) or less in size – smaller in diameter than a human hair 

However a clinical experiment was carried out under laboratory conditions, and the report can be found here http://burningissues.org/woodsmokefoodallergy.html 

It's very long winded, but yes they can.

Other interesting articles are below:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/532681-mesquite-tree-allergies/     Easy to read, and digest - no pun intended




http://www.vtwoodsmoke.org/pdf/WoodsmokeWA04.pdf  (other illnesses caused by woodsmoke - non allergy)


Happy reading th_4th_of_July.gif




post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well thank you for the info.  I kinda like the ole boy so I guess it's no nut wood when cooking for him.  Keep Smokin!


post #11 of 13

Good info, thanks




post #12 of 13

Just an update on the Allergy thing.  I was chatting to a Consultant Chest Physician last week and he confirmed that you can get a reaction though smoke particles.

post #13 of 13

Nice info, thanks for sharing. Didn't know anything about this kind of allergy before. 

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