Walnuts to be added to allergen labels in Japan after allergy cases surge

Japan Times -- Jun 14
The number of walnut allergy cases in Japan has jumped over tenfold in nine years, a survey by the Consumer Affairs Agency has revealed.

Following the surge, which is believed to be partly due to an increase in walnut consumption in the country, the agency is planning to add walnuts to the list of food allergens that must be specified on product labels by the end of the fiscal year through March.

According to the triennial survey, the number of walnut allergy cases rose from 40 in 2011 to 74 in 2014, 251 in 2017 and 463 in 2020.

Severe allergy cases, including anaphylactic reactions, hit 58 in 2020, up drastically from four in 2011.

In the 2020 survey, 13.5% of all food allergy cases were caused by tree nuts, the third largest share after 33.4% caused by eggs and 18.6% by milk. Of the tree nut allergy cases, walnuts accounted for a majority.