Talking Allergies

Peanut oil
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Author:  dhoug [ Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Peanut oil

I've been allergic to peanuts for most of my life (22 now), and I've never had a serious reaction (though I've always carried an epi-pen, and I have had a few minor ones that were likely caused by undeclared trace amounts of proteins).

I haven't been to my allergist in about 4 years, but I've just been trucking along as usual - avoiding peanuts/peanut oil/peanut butter as well as foods that may-contain traces, or restaurants that typically use peanut stuff (Thai, African, etc.)

Today, however, I found the most bizarre piece of information I've ever come across: apparently peanut allergic people aren't allergic to peanut oil?


"Is peanut oil safe?
Pure refined peanut oil, if properly processed, should contain no peanut protein and therefore should not cause allergic reactions in peanut allergic people. Refining peanut oil requires a high degree of heating which destroys the peanut protein. Most peanut allergic people avoid peanut oil because of the slight risk that the processing of peanut oil was not done properly and that there may be traces of peanut protein. Nevertheless, if a peanut allergic person accidentally eats a food with refined peanut oil, the chances of having an allergic reaction are extremely low because even if there is peanut protein in there, it will likely be in very small amounts. However peanut and nut oils are also available unrefined. They may also be called cold-pressed, unprocessed, expelled or extruded oils. These unrefined oils may have nut proteins and may cause allergic reactions. However these unrefined oils are not usually used commercially but are usually found only in specialty food shops and used for specialty ethnic cooking, but may also be more common in other countries. Peanut oil is also known as Arachis oil."

What the heck is this all about? How come I've never heard of this? Is this website just total garbage, or is this perhaps a new discovery? Or was my allergist just more conservative than others?

I'm not itching (pardon my pun) to jump out and drink a litre of peanut oil, but it could definitely ease my fears about eating Chinese food, which I've heard sometimes uses peanut oil.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:02 pm ]
Post subject: 


It's definitely not garbage. Allergists will tell you the same; experts have been quoted on this in Allergic Living magazine as well.

But before you pull out the chopsticks, notice the warning on unrefined and cold-pressed peanut oils - those would still contain peanut protein. The problem comes in knowing clearly which oil is being used in a food. And if you're not the one pouring the oil into a pan ....

I'd only eat from a Chinese restaurant if you were able to tour the kitchen, get to know the owners. I say this because there is an awful lot of peanut used in Chinese cooking. To each his own comfort level, but mine is that I avoid not just because of peanut oil, but for fear of cross-contamination on cutting boards, utensils and sauces being splashed from one bowl to another as dishes are prepared.

Author:  KarenOASG [ Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:37 pm ]
Post subject: 

I agree with Gwen - I personally make sure that my kids stay away from all forms of peanut oil, because I feel it is better to be safe than sorry, and I have no idea how anyone would be able to guarantee that there is no peanut protein in whatever peanut oil is being used.

I'll be honest - while I know that it is scientifically correct to say what is said on the Calgary website, I wish they focussed more on the "better safe than sorry" approach, since for me, it's just not worth the risk to be consuming peanut oil...! In a sense, I feel it gives people false hope.


Author:  AnnaMarie [ Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:04 am ]
Post subject: 

Pure refined peanut oil, if properly processed, should contain no peanut protein and therefore should not cause allergic reactions in peanut allergic people

First, I wouldn't know pure from unpure nor do I know how to properly process peanut oil. But, even if it is pure and was processed properly, the best doctors say is that it should contain no peanut oil and therefore should not cause a reaction. I've never heard of a doctor saying is does NOT contain and therefore will NOT cause a reaction.

It's just to iffy to me.

Author:  Helen [ Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:47 am ]
Post subject: 

I think the "scientific" response varies on this. I personally reacted as a kid to potato chips with peanut oil . . . they weren't gourmet chips. Maybe there was residual protein, who knows. Maybe I react to the refined oil. Whichever--I'm not going to mess with it!

The controversy is illustrated on this site (which usefully summarizes a variety of studies some of which are conflicting. Check the site itself for the citations):

refined peanut oil (heat processed) is not allergenic (in other words, it will not cause an allergic reaction in the peanut-allergic individual). Of 10 peanut-allergic patients challenged with peanut oil, none reacted to the protein-free oils. Subsequent reports have indicated that oils contaminated with peanut protein may indeed produce significant allergic reactions in peanut-sensitive individuals. Cold-pressed oils are more likely to contain peanut proteins than hot-pressed oils. (1997)

BUT read here :

On the other hand, Olszewski and coll. reported an allergy to peanut oil by skin test, and by double-blind placebo controlled challenges, concluding the presence of residual allergenic proteins in crude and refined peanut oil, and that the increase consumption of allergens in the form of peanut oil and fats can contribute to the occurrence or persistence of symptoms and may be suspected to increase the risk of sensitization

A paragraph from this site on the same issue but concerning soy oil (the article is from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology):

The seeds of soybeans are widely used as a source of oil. The oil has many uses (e.g., in salad dressings, margarine, baby foods, industrial components, linoleum, paint, plastics, soap, and glue for plywood) (Table VII). Although soybean oil was initially thought to be safe for soy-sensitive individuals,42 it is now evident that soy protein may occur in soybean oil.43 Thus the allergenicity of soybean oil would depend on its purity, which in turn depends on the extraction process. Recent evidence has demonstrated that although oxidized soybean oil may not show allergenicity, proteins in soybeans are capable of interacting with oxidized lipid to form products that are allergenic to soybean-sensitive patients.44 Indeed, Hiyama et al.45 report a case of urticaria associated with paren-teral nutrition with an intravenous 10% lipid emulsion containing a soybean oil base. Such reactions, however, appear to be uncommon, and there are very few reports of this nature in the literature.

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