Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), tree nuts, including coconuts, are classified as “major allergens”. But a campaign is now underway to get coconuts off this list. Coconuts grow on trees and are called a nut, but they are not tree nuts nor are they much of an allergen.
The Texas-based Coconut Coalition of the Americas (CCA) launched a campaign Monday to “make it clear that coconuts are not tree nut allergens.” The industry-led coalition plans to petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to remove the coconut from the list of “tree nuts” in the FALCPA Guidance Documents.
Out of more than 160 foods that can cause allergic reactions in some people, the “major food allergens” are responsible for 90 percent of those reactions.
The eight major foods identified by FALCPA:
- Fish (bass, flounder, cod)
- Crustacean shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Food labels must disclose ingredients or proteins from any of the major food allergens list under the FALCPA law. FDA added coconuts as a tree nut to the major food allergens list in 2006
But the Coconut Coalition sees the FDA’s 2006 decision as a mistake. It says coconut reactions may occur, but many people allergic to tree nuts have found they can safety eat coconuts. The Coconut Coalition, formed in 2017, launched the campaign with $25,000. It says it needs to raise another $80,000 over the next six months to support their petition to FDA.