At a restaurant recently with our peanut allergic son, we ordered a slice of pie, but first asked if it contained any nuts. The server said “No”, and went to the kitchen. A minute later she was back. The chef uses a spray peanut oil on the crust to help release the crust from the springform pan. So we ordered something else.
It doesn’t take much exposure to peanut introduced into the peanut-allergic person to cause a problem. I have looked at peanut oil in grocery stores, and some has a slightly cloudy look rather than a clear one. That cloudy appearance is surely caused by bits of peanut. While aerosol peanut oil sprays are undoubtedly even more refined so as not to clog up the spray mechanism, I suspect that there may still be traces of the allergenic antigens in some products. In our book we tell the story of a patient of mine who had anaphylaxis from unprotected sex with her boyfriend eight hours after he ate peanut butter. If you think of the filters involved in that process, you’re better off playing it safe with your son.
Dr. Paul Ehrlich
Not many servers or chefs are as cautious as this. Should we be worried about spray peanut oil in baked goods or other foods? Could a slice of that pie have caused a reaction? He has reacted to a very small amount of peanut.