cross contamination...

Publish date:
Updated on

how strong is cross contamination i mean are u guys being just a little paranoid here? I've eaten at many different restaurants and i never once asked if they had peanut oil or if they used different pants i mean i just didnt order anything with peanuts (This includes chinese restaurants). I guess its in the best interest to ask for your kids but i dont really care.. since i never had a reaction since i was 2 and i was exposed to them many times and the smell never bothered me and touching people that had eaten them seconds ago never effected me.. was at a baseball game (mets vs yankees) damn the peanut smell was overwhelming.

On Jun 25, 2001

When was the last time you were tested? Are you sure you haven't outgrown the allergy?

On Jun 25, 2001

I have a 4 1/2 yr old peanut and tree nut allergic son. Until recently we had never had any experience with cross-contamination. I used to relate to where you are coming from,until it happened to my son a few months ago. My son had not seemed to have any problems with the smell of peanuts at all. He also has had some peanut oil exposure, and it did"t seem to cause him any problems at all. We went to a restaurant where they had peanut butter and jelly on the kiddie menu. Yes I had heard of cross-contamination, but I thought as long as I told the waiter about his allergies, and ordered him a "Hot Dog,fries and a lemonade" it would be alright. But it wasn"t. Within two minutes of biteing his food his lips swelled up. He told me "Mommy we need to go to the Emergency Room!". Seconds later, he was grasping for breath! Terrified I pulled out his emergency bag with his Benadryl and Epi-pens and gave him some Benadryl first. My poor son was so upset that with all his crying I could tell he was beginning to breathe alright. I was so scared that I had also pulled out one of his Epi-Pens, fully prepared to used it. But Thank God I did'nt have to!!!Several hours later he was sleeping peacefully in his room, and I called the restaurant to check on every ingredient of his food. The restaurant Manager was very helpful.After talking to our Allergist I am convinced it was some kind of cross-contamination. Believe me it EXISTS!!!!Unfortunately it's just another of the many realities that all of us as parents of PA/TNA children have to live with on a daily basis. It is not paranoia, I only wish it Was!

On Jun 25, 2001

A couple of thoughts... I would have considered giving an Epi-Pen in that situation. Food-induced breathing difficulties are not worth "waiting it out."

To get around this, we often hand people in a restaurant a plastic knife to cut food with, because I've worked as a waitress and know the kitchen will often wipe a knife off on a towel before moving on to the next dinner. (Disgusting, I know.)

The cross-contamination issue is an interesting one though. There was a study that came out today that said the FDA did a random test of baked goods & candy from 600 manufacturers and found significant peanut contamination (unmarked, of course) in 25%. If we have all these super-sensitive kids, why aren't people experiencing reactions all the time? (By the way, Anna Munoz-Furlong was on the CBS radio national news!)

On Jun 25, 2001

Mathew - consider yourself lucky. I used to react to cross contamination frequently. Now, since becoming a parent, I'm much more careful. My usual reactions to manufacturer cross contamination have been itchy throat. To restaurant cross contamination I've had everything from itchy throat to vomiting to anaphylaxis (twice). The first and ONLY time I ever actually ingested something made with peanuts was when I was 2. All the reactions I've had since then have been from cross contamination and airborne exposures. I have the unique opportunity to see the issue from both sides. Not only am I severly PA, I have 2 kids who are PA too. I totally see where you're coming from and dealing with my own PA is easy and no big deal for me - it always has been. However, I can tell you it's SOOOO much harder managing my children's PA than my own! I'm so much more careful with them and what they eat than I am with myself. I am hyper-sensitive to what's going on in my body and at the first hint of a reaction I can quit eating the item, remove myself from the room, etc. I don't know that my children will/can notice things early enough yet.

Booandbrimom - maybe our kids do experience reactions frequently but since we're not in their bodies we don't know they're happening. I know my 4 year old and 2 year old are much too busy to mention if their throat was a little itchy or if they had a slight headache. What about those mystery runny noses or loose stools? What about eczema or dark circles under the eyes? They could all be from cross contamination, too. In my experience, manufacturer cross contamination is generally so slight it only causes a mild reaction.


On Jun 25, 2001

The posts on this thread have really got me thinking. My daughter has only had one reaction to PB that I know of, and I was feeling pretty good about my daughter's situation. After all, I didn't know about this website until a few months ago, and I didn't know how serious the risk of cross contamination is, and how labels are not accurate, and how clueless restaurants are, and yet my daughter still has been OK. But now I wonder if maybe she has had minor reactions, but like rebekahc said, young children do not understand their allergy yet.

On Jun 26, 2001

Are we 'being paranoid'? No. I think we all do what we feel we need to do to keep our children safe. Some can be around someone eating a PBJ and others can't. Some can be kissed by someone who just ate something peanutty, some can't. Depending on our children's reaction history, we do what we feel we have to to keep them as safe as possible.

As someone else pointed out, maybe you've outgrown it. That would be wonderful for you. Please understand, though, that all peanut allergies (reactions) are not the same - for one person, or from person to person. PA is totally unpredictable.

On Jun 26, 2001

I don't believe we are being "paranoid". Until my 3 year old PA son is old enough to understand his allergy and read labels the onus is on us (my DH and myself) to ensure that he does not have another reaction.

I believe that it would be in your best interest to be re-tested for PA. The latest studies indicate that up to 20% of people can outgrow PA.

Here is a portion of an article on cross contamination taken from the Calgary Allergy Network. I hope it can clarify things for you. ------------------------------------------------- Examples of how cross-contamination occurs:

* You place a wrapped "safe" cheese sandwich in the same container as a wrapped "food allergen" such as a peanut butter sandwich. Both sandwiches were wrapped separately but placed in the same storage container. * You are making a peanut butter sandwich. You butter the bread with your knife; dip the knife into the peanut butter and spread it on the bread, then dip the knife into honey or jam and spread it on the bread. Cut the sandwich on the breadboard and place the sandwich on a plate. You wipe the counter. At this point there are traces of peanut on: The the the jam or honey..on the cutting board.. on the plate.. your hands...the washcloth and everything IT touches.

On Jun 26, 2001

Booandbrimmom,Thank you for the pointer on bringing a plastic knive! What a great idea! When this happened with my son it was the first time we ever went to a restaurant that had "peanut" anything on the menu.The reason I responded to Matthew is because in my own way maybe I've been in denial about cross-contamination. Now of course I feel differently! His reaction happened so fast,I started shakeing! There are so many things that fly through your mind when this happens.I did my best, what I've been told by two different Allergists. Of course when in doubt use the epi-pen, but the Benadryl worked so instantly that I did'nt feel it was needed. Every individual parent knows their own "comfort" level. Again, this happe ed all so quickly,it wasn't like I was sitting there watching him, doing nothing.I had my epi-pen uncapped,ready to go.I practiced with it later on in the day with an orange. waiting those 10 seconds for the medication to dispense seemed like forever. I know you didn"t mean anything personal,but I just wanted to clarify.Thank you for your input.

On Jun 26, 2001

No, I didn't mean to be critical and thanks for understanding. I actually am a "wait and see" person as well, but our allergist told us the last time we were in that breathing difficulties should be an automatic trigger for the Epi-Pen if we know the reaction is food-related. Apparently the Benedryl doesn't do much to alleviate the swelling that can cause the breathing difficulties, and they can come back after they resolve, so the Epi is appropriate. However, obviously, your son was fine, so I'm just passing on information - not backseat driving!

We have a lot of trouble with cross contamination because my son is allergic to milk and several other allergens as well as peanut, so I have to be very specific with waitstaff (e.g. please don't let the breadstick even touch the spaghetti sauce). The good news is, as someone indicated above, these types of reactions tend to be mild and self-limiting.

I guess the other issue here is whether low-level exposure keeps an allergy going. I sometimes wonder if it's not the exact opposite - maybe our children need the practice to reduce their level of reactivity. After all, they just did that study that found that living with a cat ultimately reduces the occurance and severity of asthma.

I think this whole cross-contamination thing is very interesting. With milk and soy being two of my son's allergies, this has been a huge issue for us. If you think peanut warnings are poorly done, you should try milk! It doesn't even have to be labelled! We don't have a lot of serious reactions but we sure have a lot of itchy throat/stomach ache type problems. I was just curious if I was the only one experiencing this, or if the 25% of contaminated items means that others are having problems too. Or do people not notice these symptoms because they're too mild? Or not used processed foods at all?

On Jun 26, 2001

I'm sorry, I failed to mention my son is also allergic to milk and egg.But his milk is a 3, and his egg has gone from a 3 to a 2.He also had a soy allergy which he has outgrown. The fact that I"m a stay-at-home mother has really helped me limit his exposure to his "no-no"foods. I"am sure you can relate that despite everything that you do like reading ingredients etc, it still leaves doubts in your mind because there could be undeclared allergens in manufactured foods. My son always seems to be haveing eczema flare-ups or "tummy"aches or loose stools or just generally out of sorts behavior. I find myself constantly going over and over in my mind whatever he's eaten that day. Maybe he had some accidental exposure that I missed or did"nt know about. Just the other day I was trying to explain to a neighbor all about the concept of cross-contamination.She has a little girl that my son likes to play with sometimes. This girls mother knows about my sons allergies and that peanut and tree nut are the life-threatening ones.She did not seem comfortable with either the subject of cross-contamination or the idea of my showing her how to use the epi-pen. Her response is"You don"t have to worry! I won"t feed him anything!" Well as you can very well imagine, my son does"nt go over there anymore. I get the feeling she thinks I"m being too paranoid about My son. But at least I know where she stands. I"ve found enought people who don"t want to" get it "out of fear, or they think you are insulting their intelligence. The people who honestly care about my son and his safety, take the time to listen and understand! BOOANDBRIM MOM THANK YOU,WERE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!!!!!!

On Jun 26, 2001

lost the post I made

It was pretty long. To make a long post short I will just say this:

MatthewL, look up paranoid and vigilance in the dictionary. You'll see we are just being vigilant (ok so there are always exceptions)

I also wrote for your benefit (and mine) that in this world it takes all kinds. Meaning that we need everyone's input. The 'paranoid' the 'vigilant' and, yes, the 16 year old 'invincible'

Also,tell us more about yourself and how you handle your PA with friends & family.

C&N's Mom Alisa

[This message has been edited by C&N's Mom (edited June 26, 2001).]

On Jun 29, 2001

to answer your question heather i was tested at like 7 years old and i was on a scale of 1 to 6 a 3 and my sister was told she was "off the charts". I havent been tested since then but my mom is gonna get me a blood test soon. I hope it comes out negative for obvious reasons and the fact that i may wanna join the military. Would suck if i couldnt cuz of this allergy ;(. OH and i never touched a school lunch sandwich the cold cuts always looked so disgusting =).

On Jul 5, 2001

Just thought I'd let you know that my son's only reaction (and the reason we had him tested for peanut allergy) was to a few bits of a non-peanut containing dish from a Chinese restaurant that was NOT cooked in peanut oil. We are fairly certain that a dish containing peanuts was cooked in the same pan prior to our dish being cooked, and the pan either was not cleaned or was simply wiped off. If that's not cross-contamination, I don't know what is!

------------------ Susan Andre's Mom

On Jul 5, 2001

Good luck Matthew. I, too, hope your test comes out negative.

On Jul 10, 2001

Matthew: I had plain pizza last night and broke out in hives. Unknown to me the pizza parlor - East Of Chicago - has peanut butter pizza. There is no doubt in my mind my pizza was cross contaminated! This is the reason I do not go to Donatos and will never eat East Of Chicago pizza again. Being careful about the foods you or your family eat is not being paranoid. It is about doing whatever you can to protect the life of yourself or a loved one. Consider yourself lucky if it has never happened to you!!!