Question about peanut allergens
October 12, 2017 2:43 PM   Subscribe

After snacking on some peanut butter in my bedroom, I accidentally left the jar open for a couple hours and the smell suffused the space. I have merchandise for my small business in this room, along with packing/shipping supplies for same, and I don't want to endanger anyone with severe peanut allergies of I accidentally spread allergens throughout the room.

Is this an issue? It's not my area of expertise and a preliminary Google search suggests that nothing was contaminated, but I wanted to check. Thanks!
posted by delight to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Seems that the actual allergens in peanuts (of which 11 have been identified) are primarily proteins which can certainly be aerosolized, but ultimately this appears pretty unlikely. Fresh boiled peanuts sit out in the open air in supermarkets and greengrocer's all the time and as far as I can tell nobody is impacted by them.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:56 PM on October 12

I've had a severe peanut allergy all my life. If I am in a smallish room with poor ventilation and there are peanuts/peanut products, I will begin to have some trouble breathing as my airways will become irritated and narrow. This has happened to me in someone's bedroom who had a rat that had some peanuts in it's cage, it used to happen on some airplanes, etc. If I'm in a meeting that involves food, I will ask that peanut stuff is not served.

However, even with that level of sensitivity, I would not be worried about your merchandise--as long as you didn't actually get peanut butter on it. Even then, I would have just a localized reaction to touching it (i.e. a rash) but it wouldn't send me into anaphylactic shock.

So my vote is that you can go ahead and ship. Thank you for caring!
posted by agatha_magatha at 3:38 PM on October 12 [15 favorites]

My husband's experience has been that peanut DUST (places where they have peanuts at the table and on the floor) is not okay. But peanut.. smell? I mean he finds it gross but it wouldn't make him allergic.

Granted, he does not have as severe of an allergy. (If he eats it his throat will swell shut and he will die without an epipen... but he can be in a room with someone else eating it.) Yet I feel like someone who DOES have that severe of an allergy would probably ask about the environment that things were stored in or near.

Again, no guarantees. But people have also have pets and sell things and people can be very allergic to pet dander too.

Air out the room really well anyway.
posted by Crystalinne at 4:32 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]

My sister had a reaction in a room with many open bowls of nuts; nuts were also poured into the bowls in that room, so nut dust was definitely flying. She’s able to stay in the room with an open jar of peanut butter. I would air out the room well, but I think the items in the room are safe.
posted by epj at 5:05 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]

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