Nuts may contain nuts

A British supermarket was forced to take bags of nuts off the shelves after the labeling failed to declare the possible presence of peanuts. The store, Booths, apologised and warned customers allergic to nuts not to consume the nuts. [BBC]



  1. Despite the names, no nuts were involved. But people with a legume allergy, who did not know what “monkey nuts” are, certainly needed a warning, because “the presence of peanuts was not declared on Booths’ own brand packets of monkey nuts”.

    1. If you’re allergic to peanuts, then you’re probably aware of what they look like. Whilst I can’t find any photo of the individual packaging referred to, I imagine the packet either is partially transparant, or has a photo of the peanuts; only because this is the case on almost every other bag of nuts I’ve ever seen. 

      1. An article from another UK source said that the packaging was transparent, so the peanuts in their shells were there for every shopper to readily identify and avoid if necessary.

  2. The first time I saw a packet of Monkey Nuts I wondered what nut could look so much like a peanut but be something else.  Then I wondered worriedly if an apostrophe s had gone astray.

  3. It’s not too crazy, as some people won’t know that “monkey nuts”is another name for peanuts. People with fatal peanut allergies probably will know of course, but those preparing food for them might not.

  4. This isn’t limited to weirdly renamed peanuts.  My local vending machine here sells bags of peanuts, and on the back is the dire warning: “This product may contain peanuts”.  

  5. While this is easy to make fun of, it’s much better for people with food allergies to err on the side of caution. I’ve recently discovered that I can’t eat gluten* and it is a royal pain in the ass figuring out what I can eat and what I can’t. And while I will definitely regret it if I accidentally eat something made with wheat, it’s not going to kill me.

    *Celiac is an auto-immune disease, but I usually say allergy since it gets the point across much more easily.

    1.  According to my boyfriend, who’s been diagnosed for a while, it’s gotten a lot better the last ten years – which is, of course, quite different from it being easy. Some standardized color-coded, marking would be neat; imagine if the standardized nutritional information had to include a compact list of standard allergens/triggers. (I’m imagining something like ‘G’ for “contains gluten” and  ‘g’ for “may contain traces of”).

      1. According to several friends of mine its gotten quite a bit harder. Apparently many of the “gluten free” products out there intended to chase the bonkers gluten free trend are pretty problematic. They contain little enough gluten to bear the label but not a low enough amount, or consistently enough to be safe for many celiac patients. So while its easier for them to find recipes and products to cook on their own eating packaged goods or eating out requires ether extensive research or an uncomfortable trial and error process. But then the friends in question are quite young and have mostly lived in or around large East Coast cities and college towns where health food stores and restaurants made it fairly easy to begin with. 

        1.  Right. I’m in Norway, and I haven’t noticed the same amount of people buying gluten-free without diagnosed coeliac – so whatever stuff we find labeled gluten-free might be more likely to actually be so. (My BF hasn’t had a real bad reaction for a couple of years now, so at least there hasn’t been any out-and-out mislabeling in his diet for a while.)

          1. I think the “gluten=evil” thing is at the moment limited to anglophone countries. Particularly the US and England where this sort of thing tends to crop up quite often. 

          2. Well don’t you know gluten gives your kids vaccines which gives them autism which makes them play videogames all day which will cause them to shoot up a school?

            (I’m sure I covered most of the mommy scares out there)

          3. I don’t suppose that that could have anything to do with different regions of the world having different genetic makeups.

          4.  @Antinous_Moderator:disqus : Allow me to be mildly suspicious – the genetic makeup of the Scandinavians isn’t all that different from the English. (There’s the gaelic component, of course – but in general they sort in the same haplogroup.)

          5. Yes, I’m happy that it is at least getting easier for people with celiac to eat gluten free, but so many people who don’t even knopw what gluten *is* think they should avoid it.

            Not too long ago I was in a cafe and this girl asked the guy at the counter if the salad dressing was gluten free… then ordered a grilled cheese sandwich on ordinary ciabatta.

          6. @Antinous_Moderator:disqus It sure seems odd that the mass uptake of “gluten intolerance” has popped up in countries predominately descended from regions that have used wheat as a primary grain for centuries.

    2. While this is easy to make fun of

      Yup :-)
      Hey, you gotta grab the low-hanging fruit while it’s still on the branch.

      1. Hey, you gotta grab the low-hanging fruit while it’s still on the branch.

        Like this?  NSFW

  6. I can remember when you couldn’t get peanuts in Britain.  And now they have peanuts, and peanut allergies.  Progress!

  7. Peanuts are technically a legume, a very different food than tree nuts. People allergic to peanuts may not be allergic to nuts, vice versa.

    1. And vanilla isn’t a nut at all, but my food intolerance to certain nuts is also an intolerance to vanilla. It gets complicated and more labelling is better than less.

  8. Peanuts aren’t nuts! I’m allergic to tree nuts but peanuts are fine. Never tried monkeys though – is it gay if it’s cross-species?

    1. is it gay if it’s cross-species?

      For the answer to that, google ‘Enumclaw’.

  9. Really disappointing. This is Daily Mail level journalism. They’re not being recalled because they “contained nuts”, but because they contain peanuts. Peanuts are not nuts. Google it.

    Those making light of this have never seen a child suffering anaphalactic shock. It is very distressing for everybody and you can die from it.  Should it be a death sentence for a child not to know all the synonyms, regional and otherwise, for peanuts?

  10. I must be reading BB comments again, where pedantry over semantic minutiae so often rules the day.

    Not that I don’t enjoy that sometimes.

    How about 

    Nuts may contain “nuts”?


    Nuts may contain ‘nuts?

  11. It’s easy to complain about how “crazy” labelling laws mean that a pack of peanuts has to warn that they contain peanuts, but it’s much easier to just have a law that say all products that contain peanuts / nuts must carry the warning than to try and decide all the products that “obviously” contain nuts and have a big long list of exceptions for them.

  12. My favorite warning label is found on a jar of 100% peanut butter – warning:  may contain peanuts.

    1. That’s because so much “peanut butter” is colored Crisco with peanut flavoring.

      1. Nah, this is the chunky organic stuff with real, separated peanut oil at the top of the jar.

  13. Honestly, if you tried to sell me a packet of monkey nuts I would not assume they contained any vegetable matter at all.

    Tangentially related:  “sweetbreads” are neither sweet nor bread.  And “rocky mountain oysters” contain no oyster.

  14. Unmissable opportunity to post The Ground Nuts Order, apparently from Scotland, supposedly of 1972.

    In the Nuts (unground), (other than ground nuts) Order, the expression nuts shall have reference to such nuts, other than ground nuts, as would but for this amending Order not qualify as nuts (unground) (other than ground nuts) by reason of their being nuts (unground)

    If Boing Boing (or Disqus) allowed users to have a sig, this would be mine.

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