It's estimated around three million Americans are allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, or both. It's an allergy children rarely outgrow and can be lethal if a person unknowingly ingests a food containing nuts and doesn't get help, but some cutting edge research is cracking open some new information that could ease minds and save lives.
Michael Creamer found out at the age of 18 that tree nuts were tough to swallow.
“Someone went to Hawaii and brought back chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I ate one and I just about died,” says Michael.
Creamer is one of millions who has had to change his lifestyle, being extra cautious even with snack foods that are processed in plants where nuts are present.
Tree nut allergy sufferers are now getting help from Florida State University. In a nutshell, researchers have found a way to detect trace amounts of tree nuts in processed food.
The discovery could lead to a lifesaving consumer product.
Dr. Shri Sathe says, “We want to develop strip assays that can detect trace amount of tree nuts. It will let them know if they're in their food or not.”
Graduate students say it's rewarding to work on something so needed. Dr. Sathe, who's been studying tree nut allergies for 16 years, says they are working with a company in hopes of developing a test strip kit.