djs328 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 1:38am
post #1 of

Ok, this may be a dumb or already covered topic...does anyone know if using (imitation) Almond extract is ok for someone with nut allergies or not? A lot of the recipes on here suggest using it, and I am wondering about the allergy aspect...Any insight??? icon_confused.gif

24 replies
JodieF Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 1:45am
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Imitation is fine...there's no almond in it. But, as someone with a tree nut allergy, if I smelled almond I wouldn't eat it even if you promised me it was imitation!

Jodie

adonisthegreek1 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 1:46am
post #3 of

I have no first hand experience with this, but I've heard that the imitation almond (or other imitation nut) extracts are safe for people with nut allergies. Just don't use the real extracts, because they are not safe.

indydebi Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 1:47am
post #4 of

I had a bride in for a sampling a few weeks ago with nut allergies and she called ahead of time to see if I used almond flavoring in anything. She didnt' even want artificial almond ... I didn't ask why, but I bet it's the same reasoning as Jodie.

mirda6275 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 1:58am
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There are students with severe nut allergies where I work and I've made a WASC using imitation and they haven't had an allergic reaction. One of the teachers ate the cake in the classroom! BUT I checked the ingredients with the parents of the student first, we actually do this all the time with them and they're usually glad to answer vs. us just guessing. I did SCRUB everything down before I baked the cake because I have uses regular almond extract or peanut butter in other cakes and I'm paranoid.

my (inexperienced) suggestion, is to ask the person straight out or to use something else. odds are it would be ok, but not worth the risk of a serious allergic reaction.

pieceacake830 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 2:02am
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I use imitation Almond flavoring, and have not had a problem. My son's friend has a severe allergy to peanuts eat my cakes as often as he possibly can, with no ill effects. BUT, anyone with an allergy should always be careful, and know for sure what they are eating.

antonia74 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 2:04am
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This is an interesting topic. I actually just found out that the amaretto liqueur we use at work isn't even made from almonds at all, but from crushed apricot pits. You learn something new every day. icon_rolleyes.gif

aggiechef Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 2:07am
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I just made some cookies where I normally use almond extract and had to use something else because one of the people that I made them for has a severe nut allergy. Those make me paranoid because I've had someone have a reaction because they didn't tell me beforehand. The bright side to having to use something else is that I discovered French Vanilla flavoring at the grocery store. It doesn't sound like a big thing, but it's got a very distinctive taste which I like.

JodieF Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 2:15am
post #9 of

Peanuts aren't nuts, they're legumes. People with allergies to peanuts can eat tree nuts with no issues, and people with tree nuts allergies can eat peanuts with no issues. You can be allergic to both.

Amaretto can be made with crushed apricot pits or almonds, but are usually a combination of both. I wouldn't touch it.

A coconut is actually a fruit, and nutmeg is a seed, just as a matter of interest.

Jodie

KathysCC Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 2:20am

I would think that you have to be sure that imitation extract uses no real almond at all. I don't think anyone but the manufacturer would know that.

In the case of people with severe allergies, the risk is not worth taking. I know a girl whose throat swells closes at just the smell of peanuts. Also, peanut allergies and nut allergies are two different things since peanuts are not technically nuts.

LaBellaFlor Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 6:35pm

LOL, JodieF you big NERD! icon_wink.gif But your right. Cheap marzipan is actually made out of crushed apricot pits, as is cheap amaretto, but good quality stuff for both is made out of almonds. I also read that even though it is imitation almond extract, to still be careful,cause it is processed in the same area where other nut products are processed.

pastryjen Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 6:51pm

I would double check with the manufacturer.

My DD with a sensitivity to peanut, won't go near golden pea butter (a p.b. alternative that is pretty close to the real thing but peanut free.) it smells so similar.

Be very careful!

tripletmom Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 6:56pm

Indeed peanut and nut allergies are different however most of these nuts are processed together in the same plants so the risk of cross contamination is VERY high. So most people with any kind of nut allergy will tend to avoid them altogether.

When and if I use almond flavouring it tends to be the grocery store brand, which is here is usually Club house. I have contacted the company and sure enough their REAL almond flavouring is peanut and NUT free as well since they use peach (or maybe apricot?) pits to get the flavouring. The reason it can be called REAL is that the flavour does come from a real source and is not chemically formulated. This can apply to almost any flavouring labelled as real. As long as it comes from a definable source the companies can use the term 'real'.

Interesting, no? icon_biggrin.gif

elvis Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 7:04pm

I used to never think twice about using imiation but now I'm not so sure. I would always check with the customer before adding it-- for their safety & also your liability if there was a severe reaction.

I did a white cake for a baby shower...and I always add vanilla & imitation almond to my white cakes (I don't even have real almond extract since the reactions are such a fear of mine).

The next morning I got a call from a mother whose son had broken out into hives after eating a leftover piece of cake that she brought home to him. He was allergic to tree nuts. She wanted to know what I had used in the cake-- she wasn't aware that imitation almond would effect him in this way...but something sure did....and the extract is pretty high on my list of likely causes. Whenever someone asks, I always say I can't guarantee anything to be "nut free"--there's always that freak cross contamination possibility from the tiniest trace of nut.

bonniebakes Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 6:35pm

I have a friend who is severely allergic to tree nuts and can NOT have imitation almond extract. Almonds and apricots are very closely related, so that should also be used with care....

ShayShay Posted 16 Apr 2009 , 6:53pm

My son is allergic ( anaphylactic) to both tree and ground nuts. He has had artificial almond extract and has not had a problem. With that being said, I would never let him eat anything that came from a bakery or home baker because of the fact that the pans may have previously been used with a peanut/nut product. My house is a peanut/nut free zone. I have applied these rules for 17 years now, so far so good!

miss_sweetstory Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 2:26pm

Hi there CC friends, speaking as a member of a family with assorted allergies (tree nuts, sea food, strawberries, onions...the list goes on), you need to be cautious with the use of imitation almond flavoring. It is usually made from the crushed pitts of stone fruits, but since almonds and most stone fruits are part of the same "family" some people might have a sensitivity to even imitation almond extract/flavoring.

**The following is something that I copied from elsewhere on the 'net. I failed to note its source. Please note that these are not my own words and I am not attempting to take credit for them; I'm only offering them as an interesting explanation:

The almond is frequently, but incorrectly, said to be a member of the peach family. The almond is not a member of the peach family, but rather it is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. The peach also is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. Thus the almond and peach are in the same family but neither is in the other's family, as this term (Family) is commonly and taxonomically understood.

Some other well known consumables that are in the same family (Rosaceae):

Rosaceae Prunus Dulcis - Almond

Rosaceae Prunus Persica - Peach

Rosaceae Prunus Domestica - Plum

Rosaceae Prunus Cerasus Marasca - Maraschino Cherry

Rosaceae Prunus Armeniaca - Apricot

Rosaceae Prunus Spinosa - Sloe

loriana Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 3:29pm

I apologize in advance if someone already posted this since I didn't read the whole thread:

Most artificial extracts have natural flavorings in them. Almond is one of them.

Almond extract has natural almond essence in it. I would definitely not use it for someone with nut allergies. Even the artifical extract can cause allergic reaction. Hope this helps!

forthwife Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 3:41pm

I use Mcormick Pure Almond Extract and according to them (I've called twice to make sure I was given the same info both times) their factories are COMPLETELY nut free. The pure almond extract is made from apricot pits, not nuts. The IMITATION extract is made from a collection of chemical compounds made in a food lab. So, if you're allergic to almonds Mcormick brand should be safe...however if you're allergic to apricots that's a whole different story. (Please know this refers only to Mcormick other companies may use real almonds.)

Arainna Forth

Carolynlovescake Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 4:11pm

I'm one of the few who has both almond and an apricot allergy (many fruits actually).

The use of artificial almond flavoring is guaranteed to send me to an EPI pen. I have about 2 minutes before I start to suffocate if it's a minor ingestion. If I have a piece of cake I have less than that to be issued my EPI pen before it's life/death.

Exposure isn't an issue (yet) but ingesting it is.


If the box says "almond" regardless of extract or imitation I avoid it like the black plague, scarlet fever and chicken pox combined.

cuteums Posted 17 Apr 2009 , 4:17pm

I'd avoid the imitation and the pure almond extract to be on the safe side when it comes to nut allergies.

livvyliv Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 9:51pm

Almond extract is definitely not safe and some imitation almond extracts are not safe either. Some imitation use a portion of real almond but not all to cut down on cost. Their aim is to make an "extract" that is cheaper, not to create something safe for those with allergies. I would contact the manufacturer of an imitation you are planning on using and find out if it's safe for those with tree nut allergies. I can't remember which brands are safe but you might start with Watkins, I think they might be.

livvyliv Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 9:53pm


Well lo and behold, I stand corrected! Here's a response from McCormick:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your
interest in our Pure Almond Extract and all of our extracts and welcome the
opportunity to be of assistance to you.

We are pleased to inform you that we do not use any peanuts or tree
nuts in our extracts. The facilities that manufacture extracts ban tree
nuts or peanuts so there is no risk of cross contamination. The almond
extract is also safe - the oil of bitter almond is derived from apricot
pits - not almonds."

Kareno05 Posted 4 days ago

In searching about almond allergies - was looking to see if I would also be allergic to hair care products with almond extract - I found this blog.  I too wouldn't take the chance of anything with an extract and now I know why! Because I'm allergic to almonds and other tree nuts, I am also allergic to fruits with a pit - peaches, nectarines, apricots... So I stay away from it all. I'd rather breathe :)

GoWildCakes Posted 2 days ago

FYI. Many people who are allergic to almonds are also allergic to peaches (and their pits) and Apricots (And their pits).  They are all in the same family.  I only use artificial almond flavoring. because you never know who may eat it.  Even though I hate using anything "artificial" in any of my baked goods.  The taste difference is indistinguishable and much safer. 

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