Peanut shells

Posted on: Sun, 04/08/2001 - 3:34am
macer's picture
Joined: 01/07/2001 - 09:00

pDoes anyone know if paenut shells contain the protein that we are allergic to? I avoid them like the plague but have always wondered if they are as deadly as I think or if peanut butter and peanuts(no shell) are worse. If the shell was not so highly allergic maybe I would feel safe going to a sporting event. I did have some sort of an airborne reaction at a football game but maybe it was the womans perfume in front of us and not all the shells? My husband said he could even smell her perfume and he never smells anything. Haven't gone to any games since because I thought it was the shells. Any insight????/p

Posted on: Sun, 04/08/2001 - 10:56am
Frances's picture
Joined: 11/28/2000 - 09:00

My PA son has been to lots of games with peanut shells on the ground, etc. We avoid sitting right next to someone eating peanuts (we have a family of 5 so it is usually easy to move someone within our family to get my PA son into a safe place. However, we would never take him to a restaurant where peanuts were served or shells were on the floor. The smallness of a restaurant and the closed in air makes it seem too big of a risk. To me it seems that peanuts in shells are porous--that is air goes in and out of the shells before they are cracked. When they are cracked it doesn't seem to be any big "explosion" which might send proteins into the air--such as you would have if someone next to you opened a snickers candy bar. Also, the shells of a peanut don't seem to have a strong peanut smell. Whether they contain the protein--I don't know. The above is just my thoughts on the matter.

Posted on: Sun, 04/08/2001 - 11:36am
FromTheSouth's picture
Joined: 03/01/2000 - 09:00

The Food Allergy Network has posted on their website some research re. food allergic reactions. Check out the link listed below and scroll down to: Peanut/tree-nut allergic reactions in restaurants. It confirms reactions from peanut shells on the ground.

Posted on: Mon, 04/09/2001 - 12:09am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I have a neighbor who feeds the squirrels whole peanuts. The birds and squirrels then bring the shells over into our yard. It hasn't really concerned me until this week because it's now getting warm out and we're out more. Along with my PA 3 year old, I now have a 1 year old to watch. It's getting more difficult to watch his every move like I have in the past 2 years. I feel awkward asking my neighbor to stop feeding the squirrels, because it's not his fault they are bringing the shells into our yard. However, I need to keep my son safe......any suggestions?

Posted on: Mon, 04/09/2001 - 12:34am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I sent an email to the Peanut Board, asking for information on the length of time it takes the protein to break down in peanut shells, and I've yet to receive a reply.
My husband and his friends have a "guys' weekend" every year at our cottage, and the ritual included bringing up a big bag of peanuts to crack and eat outside around the fire. As a result, the entire property is covered with peanut shells, so I wanted to find out if they still contain allergenicity after breaking down under a blanket of snow this past winter. Needless to say, the "guys" won't be bringing peanuts anymore, but I wondered if I still had to worry about the shells from last year. The cottage is 20 minutes from the nearest medical center and 45 minutes from the nearest hospital.
Anyway, I'm still trying to find an answer to this, and since the Peanut Board doesn't seem to want to, or is not able to, help, I'll post if I find info from anywhere else.
Markus' Mom - perhaps you could bring a big bag of "safe" squirrel food to your neighbour (anyone have suggestions?), along with some homemade baked goods to "break the ice", and explain your problem with the peanut shells. If you're reasonable about it (and it sounds like you are) your neighbour won't be put on the defensive. Providing him with a safe alternative, giving him a homemade treat and phrasing your request that he stop using peanuts in a reasonable way should work fine - if it doesn't, then he's put in the position of being a boorish, unreasonable person. He'll most likely try to help if you give him the tools to do it. Good luck!

Posted on: Mon, 04/09/2001 - 1:07pm
kar's picture
Joined: 02/05/2000 - 09:00

Yes! I can tell you from experience that peanut shells can cause a reaction. My son (now four) had reacted to empty shells that squirrels had brought into our yard. I had no idea they were even there until one day I was digging with him and began to find them. Markus' Mom: I went door to door to everyone in our neighborhood to find out who was feeding squirrels. I definately felt foolish, but felt I had no choice. FINALLY, I found the right family and explained the situation. (I had never met them before this.) They were incredibly understanding! I later went back with my son and we brought flowers for the Mom and small gifts for the kids. I also brought a thank you note which described how severe my son's reaction could be and that a simple touch could set this reaction off. I sent this note just to make they understood. Plus, I wanted the Mom to show it to her husband (or any other adults in the house)so that everyone would understand. The good news is that the shells cleared up quickly! Now we do a morning "peanut check" before sending the kids outside. We also have a deal with the kids: if any of them find a shell, they don't touch, but come and tell an adult. Then they ALL get a prize (stickers or a safe snack). I don't want them searching for shells to get their prize, but when they might stumble on a shell, I want to make sure they know what to do. This has worked out great and we haven't had any "touch" incidents since last September!

Posted on: Tue, 04/10/2001 - 3:55am
ajbmommy's picture
Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

I have this same problem in my neighborhood but haven't found out which neighbor is the one feeding the squirrels yet. I wrote an article to a journalist in our local paper. He did a story on it asking the unknown neighbor to find a different food to feed the squirrells. There was confirmation from our allergist in the article too that yes the shells are a potential threat. I am constantly cleaning them out of the yard too.
I think I will print a copy of the faan letter too and if I find out who the neighbor is give them a copy.

Posted on: Tue, 04/10/2001 - 9:14am
Frances's picture
Joined: 11/28/2000 - 09:00

We also found peanut shells in our yard but were unable to identify which neighbor it was from. However, since my son is 11 and doesn't dig in the dirt, we weren't worried and haven't had any problems. We did however have quite a chuckle when we found a peanut plant growing in our garden! I was ready to pull it out--but my PA son insisted we let it grow to see what it looked like. It didn't live more than a month--but he enjoyed watching it--but not touching.

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2001 - 10:53am
Citymom's picture
Joined: 04/16/2001 - 09:00

Last year my 3 year old sat on a seat at the baseball game that we had just brushed shells off of and a few hives appeared. Now I take Chlorox wipes w/me and wipe down all surfaces near him - and have him wear pants if at all possible. I do the same thing in airplanes.

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2001 - 11:26pm
no nuts's picture
Joined: 10/24/2000 - 09:00

We live in the far Northeast and the snow is finally melting. We took a walk around the yard to see if any plants are sprouting up yet and thank goodness they are!! However, under two tall pine trees just in front of our house are scattered peanut shells! There must be 30 or 40 of them! Obviously some neighbor fed them to the squirrels who must have brought them home to these trees. It is a disturbing sight to see in our own front yard considering the diligence I use in keeping all p-products far away from us. I am one with an extremely limited comfort zone, taking all precautions imaginable. And to think I'm done-in by a couple of squirrels!

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 2:03am
Linda-Jo's picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

Markus' Mom,
I think Cayley's Mom's idea of visiting your neighbor with some 'safe' treats for the squirrels is a great idea! They probably don't know about your child's allergy. In your conversation with him/her, you could explain that peanuts are 'deadly' for your child and it's hard enough watching toddlers playing in the yard without watching for peanut shells as well. You could also say that you know it's not their fault but that the squirrels are dropping the shells in the yard. Squirrels really eat anything! Apples are a favorite of squirrels. Anything small, as they can hold it. Good luck!


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