The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising patients with peanut allergies to avoid products that contain ground cumin or cumin powder due to some products testing positive for undeclared peanut protein. Patients who are highly allergic or sensitive to peanuts may be at risk of a serious allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, warns the FDA.

Although most products containing cumin are likely to contain small amounts of the ground spice (and thus low amounts of peanut protein), 428 adverse events related to undeclared allergens were reported between January 2012 and December 2014, including three deaths. Companies are not required to list on their labels if peanuts or other allergens are processed in the same facility or on the same equipment, although some voluntarily include this information. So far eight companies have issued product recalls, but not all products containing cumin list it as an ingredient because the inclusion of a particular ingredient(s) may be considered a trade secret. No details on how the contamination occurred were provided by the FDA, but products made before 2014 are unlikely to contain the affected cumin.

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