Monday, March 25, 2013

Food Allergy Tragedies

The last couple of weeks have brought some very sad stories in the news. One was about a 19 year old college student, home for Spring Break. He ate a cookie that a friend offered him. This college student had peanut allergies, but felt the cookie was safe because it didn't contain peanuts. Unfortunately it did contain peanut oil, and the young man went into anaphylaxis. His mom could not find his Epi-Pen, and was only able to find one she had at home that had expired 2 months prior. The 911 dispatcher told her to NOT use the expired pen. The hospital staff was unable to save this young man's life, and he passed away. The mom is quoted as saying she did not know her son's allergies were life threatening. 

Another involves a possible peanut reaction after eating at Chick-Fil-A. A 7 year old boy went into anaphylaxis after eating at Chick-Fil-A, though his parents did not know he had peanut allergies. This story is yet to be confirmed through autopsy and toxicology, but the hospital doctors felt he more than likely died from anaphylaxis. 

My first thought was about the peanut oil.   So many times I have read that peanut oil is "ok" for peanut allergy individuals because it's so refined.  The protein is essentially heated out.  Chick Fil A even has a statement on their website stating that peanut allergy individuals are ok with peanut oil. I've had people urge me to take Luke to Chick Fil A, saying I was being too protective.   That it was fine.   My feeling was always, I don't care if they say it's ok.  He will NOT eat anything that has the word "peanut" in the ingredients.  Why would I take that risk?  He's deathly allergic to peanuts, why would I play roulette in hopes that it would be ok?  

As sad as the stories are of what these 2 children went through, it was a confirmation to me that my instinct was correct.   It may be "ok" for some people, but to me it's not worth the risk. Would I went to risk my child's life for a chicken nugget? Definitely not.

Let this be an example of why people that do not live with life threatening food allergies should not try and influence those of us that do.   It is easy to have an opinion when it doesn't personally affect you or your child, but that doesn't mean their opinion is correct, and definitely not welcome.  Navigating serious food allergies is difficult, and scary, enough.  Having people that really have no idea what they're talking about throw opinions in is unnecessary. 



  1. You know, one of the things I admire most about you, Melinda, is the fact that you stand up for your boy to anyone, under any situation, no matter what (I'm thinking of that random cracker incident at Kiddie Tyme specifically, but there are others). You're a strong mama, and your *THREE* boys are lucky to have you - and I'm lucky to have you as a friend.

  2. Are there any updates on the story of the 7 yr. old boy who dined in the CFA? Thank you.

    Such a sad story :(.