Cottonseed Allergy

Jacob’s last allergy test reveled among all our “new” allergies, one to cottonseed. I had never really heard of cottonseed as an ingredient, and was unaware we had ever been exposed to it.  I have learned that until WWII cottonseed oil was the most produced oil in our country, it is now ranked third behind corn and soy oil.  If you have ever had “vegetable oil” – then you have likely had Cottonseed oil! It is used in salad dressings, mayonnaise, frying and cooking oils, and in margarine.  While at a blogging conference this past weekend I was chatting with a sponsored vendor there from the cotton industry.  I noticed they had some bottles of flavored cottonseed cooking oil on display, so I asked about it, in light of Jacob’s recent diagnosis I was curious.  The gentleman explained that cottonseed oil has many health benefits and is superior for frying and cooking. He was quite surprised when I told him about Jacob’s allergy.   He then told me that he was aware that people with a walnut allergy can react to cottonseed because they are structurally similar.   This was surprising to me as I had never heard that either, in spite of both my boys having nut allergies! A quick Google search confirmed this information to be accurate.

According to the National Cottonseed Product Association there are many non-food uses for cotton seed and its byproducts    “Both crude oil and soapstock are used to produce fatty acids which in turn enter livestock feed and a wide range of industrial products such as soaps, emulsifiers, pharmaceuticals, insecticides, fungicides, cosmetics, rubber, plastics, and finishes for leather, paper, and textiles.” “Derivatives of cottonseed are being used for plastics, propellants, rayon, pharmaceutical emulsions, photography and x-ray film, fine paper and even paper currency.” Read more at eHow health.

The bottom line is that if you have an allergy to cottonseed [or to walnuts] you should use caution and call food vendors to confirm ingredients in products before consuming or using.  If you have found cottonseed or cottonseed oil in surprising products please feel free to let me know!~ [photo courtesy of The Wife of a Dairyman.]