UPDATE: 6/29/09 This update is provided in response to some comments about our original Chick-fil-A post. Bo has eaten numerous times at Chick-fil-A's in many different cities both before being diagnosed with a peanut allergy and since his diagnosis, without having a peanut allergy reaction. For the record, he has been tested twice within the last two years and both times had a RAST score of over 100.
Prior to being diagnosed with a peanut allergy, I loved to eat and play at Chick-fil-A. However, we had stopped eating there immediately after I was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. One of the reasons my dad had trouble coming to grips with my peanut allergy diagnosis early on, was because he knew that I had never gotten sick after eating at Chick-fil-A even though they use peanut oil. The Chick-fil-A web site allergen info states that "all breaded chicken products and Chick-fil-A Waffle Potato Fries are cooked in 100% pure peanut oil.
Then last month, while talking with several other parents of peanut allergic children participating in the peanut allergy treatment research study at Arkansas Children's Hospital, we learned that their peanut allergic kids were eating at Chick-fil-A without having allergic reactions. What we learned about Chick-fil-A after talking to the doctors and nurses at Arkansas Children's Hospital and to a manager of a Chick-fil-A, is that they, like many restaurants, use "pure, hot extracted peanut oil", which for most people is non-allergenic. However, "cold pressed/gourmet" peanut oils often do cause allergic reactions.
Mom was very nervous about me trying to eat at Chick-fil-A again so the head nurse of the study agreed to go with us to eat lunch there while we were in Little Rock. We all went to Chick-fil-A and I ate the chicken nuggets and waffle fries without having an allergic reaction or any other problems! Being able to eat and play again at Chick-fil-A is awesome because it helps me and my family feel like life is getting to be a little bit more normal again and it gives us another safe option for eating out when we are traveling!
This experience is just one of the many reasons we thank God every day for helping us to get into the peanut allergy treatment research study and for bringing Nurse Karen and Dr. Stacie Jones at Arkansas Children's Hospital into our lives.
Below are some other articles and comments about peanut allergy and peanut oil.
"Pure peanut oil is generally non-allergenic, but cold pressed peanut oil or oil contaminated with peanut protein through cooking may be dangerous."
"Studies show that most allergic individuals can safely eat peanut oil (not cold pressed, expelled, or extruded peanut oil - sometimes represented as gourmet oils). If you are allergic to peanuts, ask your doctor whether or not you should avoid peanut oil."
Whether or not to eat foods prepared in pure, hot pressed peanut oil is an individual decision that individuals with peanut allergies should make on an individual, case-by-case basis after consulting with their doctor, reading the nutrition information, questioning the food preparers/restaurant managers, and taking all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.