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Are coconuts nuts?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm not exactly sure where to post this. I do gluten free baking and have often been asked to do other allergen free baking too. I volunteered make a couple of cakes for my daughter's preschool end of year party. One is chocolate and I got a request for carrot cake for the other. I have made my carrot cake before for a few of the teachers and it has coconut in it. Now the school has a strict no nut policy. Though I am absolutely positive there isn't a coconut allergy among any of the students or staff, I don't want to ignore it purposely. I plan to call the school and ask their policy about coconut, but it made me wonder in general, is coconut considered a nut, especially in regards to allergen free baking? If the school tells me no to coconut I'll just leave it out, but do you consider it a nut?
post #2 of 9
I had never considered a coconut to be a nut and classified as the same as tree nuts. I went searching and found this statement online.

Coconut is difficult to classify, and even botanists frequently disagree on its classification. The most accepted theory is that coconuts are classified as drupes (more specifically dry drupes). A drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed (like a peach or olive). While it is possible to be allergic to coconut, the cross reactivity for those with tree nut allergies is very rare. The FDA classified coconut as a nut in 2006. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) does not recognize coconut as a nut.
Anne-E-Cakes
anne_e_cakes@hotmail.ca
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Anne-E-Cakes
anne_e_cakes@hotmail.ca
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post #3 of 9
The FDA does classify coconut as a tree nut, but it's actually not a tree nut at all, it is a member of the palm family. On the web site for our bakery we state that we don't use any peanuts or tree nuts, with the disclaimer that we do use coconut which is not a tree nut.

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CONU
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Excellent answers. Thank you!
post #5 of 9
...... While it is possible to be allergic to coconut, the cross reactivity for those with tree nut allergies is very rare.......

I am allergic to both tree nuts and coconut icon_sad.gif
post #6 of 9
This is why I'm extremely cautious on my allergy requests. I prefer to talk directly with the recipient even if she may not be the client. Or, I send a complete ingredient list by email.

I'm not an allergy-sensitive bakery and all clients need to be aware that I only bake for the intolerant, not allergic.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
In this case there aren't any allergies to coconuts, it's just a school policy. They do have a peanut allergy kid and several celiac kids, but I have already baked for them frequently. Because I have celiac myself and take cross contamination very seriously I've found that people with other intolerances and allergies trust me to know the proper methods to keeping them safe. Believe me, I've learned the hard way how easy it is to cross contaminate.

I was just wondering if coconuts are tree nuts or not for allergy purposes in the future because the tree nut allergy comes up fairly often.

I have a hard time saying no when someone asks me to bake something for them when I know otherwise their kid won't get a birthday cake. I live in a smallish area and there aren't any gluten free or allergy friendly bakeries around here
post #8 of 9
I feel bad for the kids too because there is no alternative.

Many times I have referred moms to the box mixes in the local health food store designed for their needs. It may not be the best, but if baked in their home, it's better than no cake for a child. I also give them a simple buttercream or frosting recipe.

You won't believe the number of moms begging me to make a cake knowing I use every one of the products with issues just because I do have several allergy sensitive products. Finally they realize that I am not the baker for them.
post #9 of 9
I have a large cake due in September and the lady likes a couple drops of Loranne coconut candy oil in the cake. Does anyone know if this is an artificial flavoring or actual coconut oil. Would a coconut extract be better?
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