The addition of food allergy declarations on packaged foods has helped many with mild to life threatening allergies avoid foods that could harm them, but those declarations aren’t foolproof. The recent recall of cumin and products that contain cumin is one example.

The FDA is warning that those with peanut allergies should avoid cumin products. Why cumin? Shipments of these products have tested positive for undeclared peanut protein. It’s not just spice bottles of ground cumin that are affected. In addition to ground cumin, cumin in spice mixes or kits and cumin that was used as a minor ingredient in packaged foods like soups and chilies may be tainted with the peanut protein.

The list of products that may be affected has been growing since December, and eight food companies have listed products that may include cumin.

While the trace amount of peanut protein may not be noticeable to people with mild peanut allergies, it could be harmful to those who are highly sensitive. The FDA wants those who have severe peanut allergies and those who care for people with severe peanut allergies to consider avoiding any products that list cumin — not just the products that have specifically been recalled. It also recommends contacting the manufacturer of any product that lists “spices” as an ingredient to find out if one of the spices is cumin.

The FDA will continue to update the list of recalled products as it receives new information.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

FDA warns those with peanut allergies to avoid cumin
Traces of peanut protein were found in cumin that was sold as cumin spice and also used in spice mixes and packaged foods.