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Author Topic: cross-contamination  (Read 4014 times)

Description: Question regarding cross contamination


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« on: July 24, 2012, 06:29:09 AM »
Hi - I have a quick question. My boyfriend's daughter is allergic to peanuts. He feared a case of cross-contamination which I think is a bit extreme. The details: I put margarine on plain white bread from a bakery that couldnt garantee their products as nut free. Because I spread the margarine on the bread and then used more margarine, therefore redipping the knife in teh margarine, he fears it was contaminated. He made his daughter a sandwich but then called her to tell her not to eat it because of that.
I can see the case where I would have made a PB sandwich and put the knife in the margarine but is this case not a little different?
Your opinions would be most welcome.

Online Mezzo

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2012, 06:44:21 AM »
Oh, so it's a question of the bread contaminating the margarine? Well, it depends if the bread is a risk and how sensitive a person is. If I were really concerned that the bread had peanut traces, I would be concerned about the margarine if a knife that touched the bread went back into the margarine. I've thought about things like that before. But you do get into traces  of traces, so people will draw that line in different places depending on their comfort zone and history. Some would really not worry about it. Foods touching is an issue, and he has to decide that for himself.

Offline MandCmama

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2012, 11:41:57 AM »
I agree. If I had decided the bread was not safe for my boys to eat, then I would not use the margarine that came into contact with it either.
Pennsylvania, USA
DS#1 (Born 11/2006)- allergic to peanuts and tree nuts
DS#2 (Born 3/2009)- allergic to egg, peanuts, and tree nuts (and Penicillin as of 18)

Offline Jessica

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2012, 01:05:59 PM »
I would agree with your boyfriend. My daughter would not be eating that margarine.
DD16 and DS14-NKA

Offline CMdeux

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2012, 01:26:08 PM »
Unfortunately, this is one of those things where actual risk may be less important to a family than "PROTOCOL" is.   :-/  I think that we can all agree that the actual risk, as you've described it, is probably quite small.  Definitely into 'traces of traces' territory.  But please understand that for FA children (and by extension, their families), procedure is sometimes important for no other reason than that following those rules even when they are inconvenient may one day be all that stands between that person and death.   It's about maintaining a margin for some human error, YK? 

It's not that you're wrong, necessarily, to see this as extremely remote in terms of actual risk.  It is.  BUT-- if your BF and his DD have a rule about this kind of thing, well, then... the rule is the rule.  (Calling and telling her not to eat the sandwich seems a little much, but a lot depends on age and reaction history.... risk here ranges from "veryveryveryvery remote" to "unlikely" and I might call, too, with "unlikely")

This would violate our house rules-- which is why we would probably pitch the margarine at our house.

We have a rule about no double-dipping in any condiments or spreads, and this is why.  A single dip with the knife is fine, but if you need more, at our house, you wash the knife or use a clean one.

Another weird/seemingly over-the-top rule at our house is that food which has been OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE (at a potluck or even just at a friend's house) is always "contaminated."  Even if we are pretty much 100% certain that it isn't, the allergic person never touches it again.

« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 01:28:46 PM by CMdeux »
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline rebekahc

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2012, 01:47:37 PM »
I agree that the risk is small, but you still have to respect your BF's decision.  He's the parent.  He's worked hard to develop a comfort zone that works for them.  He's the expert on his DD's allergy.
DS - peanut, tree nut, milk, eggs, corn, soy, several meds, many environmentals. Finally back on Xolair!
DD - mystery anaphylaxis, shellfish.
DH - banana/avocado, aspirin.  Asthma.
Me - peanut, tree nut, shellfish, banana/avocado/latex,  some meds.

Offline YouKnowWho

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 03:55:29 PM »
My DS1 has his own margarine container in the fridge, labeled with his name.  His risk is higher because he is allergic to wheat, rye, barley and egg.  Jelly is only allowed to have a spoon in the jar and not touch the bread (even if it means messying up another spoon - I buy inexpensive ones from Walmart to supplement our collection).  Some people prefer squeeze jellies but I don't care for the junk in them or the fact that the last third always seems to be wasted.

DS2 is allergic to peanuts and some mystery items so bakery bread is off limits for him.  Honestly I don't usually purchase it and when I do, DH prefers butter on it so he slices off several pats prior to letting the knife touch the bread. 

Everyone's sensitivity and comfort zones are different.  Keep in mind that what you think might be overkill is actually what we consider to be "survival training".  Accepting sandwhiches from other folks can be a dangerous venture because they don't follow the same protocol that we do (I grew up dipping the PB knife back into the jelly jar just like many of my friends - that would be asking for a reaction for both of my kids). 
DS1 - Wheat, rye, barley and egg
DS2 - peanuts
DD -  tree nuts, soy and sunflower
Me - bananas, eggplant, many drugs
Southeast USA

Online hezzier

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 03:56:35 PM »
Another weird/seemingly over-the-top rule at our house is that food which has been OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE (at a potluck or even just at a friend's house) is always "contaminated."  Even if we are pretty much 100% certain that it isn't, the allergic person never touches it again.

100% on this one.  We threw out 2/3 of a cake last night because it was at the swim team banquet.
DS (15 yrs) TN
DD (17 yrs) cat, wasps and yellow jackets


Offline SweetandSour

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Re: cross-contamination
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2012, 06:01:45 PM »
I have nut allergies, and would not have eaten it. My motto is any doubt, throw it out. Everyone's comfort zones are different. Even on here, some eat brands others don't feel comfortable with.

Bottom line though:it's his daughter. Whether or not you think it's extreme, it's his choice.
Allergic to: Peanuts, Tree nuts, Mango, Robitussin, Acetaminophen


Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did.
~George Carlin