Dishwasher, Food Allergies

Grade school friend (and safe friend) Yael Sonia hosted an allergy-free brunch this past weekend. (She loaned me the jewels for the TV Globo shoot).

As she was packing up some leftovers, she popped her head out of the kitchen as said, “Is it safe to pack food in these plastic containers? They probably have had nuts in them but they’ve been through the dishwasher.”

Yael Sonia asked this for my benefit, sure, but also for little Kate. Also grade school friend and uber-safe friend Aimee’s daughter Kate developed peanut allergies this past year. (If you were at the FAAN conference at Tarrytown this year, you may have met me and Aimee.) So now added to our daily catch up session is the steep learning curve about having a child with food allergies and asthma and environmental allergies, none of which Aimee has. Questions like this come up all the time; I’m sure for you, too and for me too, too.

I answered Yael by saying, “Yes, the plastic containers that have gone through a dishwasher are most likely safe.”

Where did I get my information?

I flipped through my mental food allergy study Rolodex and recalled this one by leading allergist Dr. Robert Wood and the crack team at Johns Hopkins:

“In the study, published in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers applied a teaspoon of peanut butter to the hands of 19 peanut allergy-free adult volunteers. Participants then washed their hands with various cleaning agents, plain water and an antibacterial hand sanitizer. Hand wipes, liquid soap and bar soap all removed the peanut allergen. Water left residual Ara h 1 on 3 of 12 hands, and hand sanitizer left residual allergen on 6 of 12 hands.”

[Read the full press release here. Or look it up yourself: Perry, Tamara T. et al, "Distribution of Peanut Allergen in the Environment," Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, May 2004, Vol. 113, No. 5.]

Also, think about it. If you, or your family, eat out at any restaurant that serves any one of your allergens regularly, you’re eating on plates, drinking from glasses and using flatware or silverware that have had your allergen on them. The dishes, glasses and flatware have simply gone through the dishwasher – and you’ve been fine.

Now, if that statement just made your heart skip a beat, and not in I-just-saw-Mr.-Darcy—come-out-of-the-water kind of way, please check with your allergist for more in depth information about what’s right for you. (AAAAI, ACAAI and AAFA have lists of board certified allergists near you.)

Meanwhile, last night I had leftovers from Yael Sonia’s brunch, from that dishwasher cleaned plastic ware and it was delish.


GFree_Miel said…
Great post! I'm always worried about the same thing with gluten. It's good that your friend thought to ask.

I totally watched that clip of Colin Firth about fifty times. I think I'm going to go watch that movie now. Haha.

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