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Prevalence of Tree Nut Allergy

Tree nut allergies are one of the most common food allergies in children and are on the rise.

A major study in the United States recently found that cases of tree nut allergy in children increased significantly in a decade, from 0.2 per cent in 1997 to 1.1 per cent in 1998. The same study found that more than 3 million Americans now have a peanut or nut allergy.

In Canada, recent research has shown 1.59 % of children have an allergy to tree nuts, and 1 per cent of adults live with the allergy.

In fact, food allergy in general is on the rise in North America and other developed countries. In Canada, an estimated 7.5 per cent of people have food allergies, representing more than 2.5 million people. In the United States it’s estimated that 12 million Americans (or just under 4 per cent of the population) have food allergies.

Here are the rates of some of the major allergens in Canada and the U.S.


Allergen Children Adults All
Peanut 1.68 % 0.71 % 0.93 %
Tree Nut 1.59 % 1 % 1.14 %
Shellfish 0.5 % 1.69 % 1.42 %
Fish 0.18 % 0.56 % 0.48 %
Sesame 0.23 % 0.05 % 0.09 %

Source: Surveying Canadians to Assess the Prevalence of Common Food Allergies and Attitudes towards Food Labelling and Risk (SCAAALAR) study. Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, June 2010.


Allergen Children
Peanut 1.4%
Tree Nut 1.1%
Sesame 0.1%

Peanut, Tree Nut or both:
Children –  2.1 %
Adults – 1.3 %

Source: US prevalence of self-reported peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergy: 11-year follow-up. Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, June 2010.