Do you know if Penn Station's peanut oil causes problems with peanut allergic patients or is it similar to Chic Fil A, where they state that their oil is cooked at such a high temp that it breaks down the peanut protein and is okay for peanut allergic patients?


Thank you for your inquiry.

Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to give you any definitive answer to your question. You mentioned if “Penn Station’s peanut oil” could possibly cause problems with peanut-allergic patients. However, there is no way to answer your inquiry as stated. There is no “Penn Station peanut oil”, and Penn Station itself contains a number of different eateries or places that serve food, and therefore the answer to your question could only be obtained by contacting each individual eatery. These include, for example, Chick Pea, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Penn Sushi, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Aunt Annie’s, Zaro’s Bread Basket, Le Bon Café, Island Dine, Rosa’s Pizza. In order for you to discern whether or not peanut oil is used, and if it was, the type employed, each individual eatery would need to be contacted.

In regards to the types of peanut oil that are safe versus those that may contain peanut allergen, I am copying below a response to a previous inquiry in this regard. The answer is still applicable.

Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.

Previous response to Ask The Expert inquiry:
11/18/2009: Safety of peanut oil ingestion in patients allergic to peanuts
Would you please let me know what your current recommendation for peanut allergic individuals and peanut oil. It was always my understanding that many can safely tolerate peanut oil as long as it was processed and not cold pressed. Is this still the case? I know there are always exceptions to the rule but many parents have been asking.

Thank you once again for your time.

Thank you for your recent inquiry.

Your understanding is correct as substantiated by the three references that I have copied below.

Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.

1. BMJ 1997;314:1084 (12 April)
Randomised, double blind, crossover challenge study of allergenicity of peanut oils in subjects allergic to peanuts
Jonathan O'B Hourihane, clinical research fellow,a Simon J Bedwani, medical student,a Taraneh P Dean, senior research fellow,a John O Warner, professor a a University Department of Child Health Mailpoint 803 Southampton General Hospital Southampton SO16 6YD
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr Hourihane
Objective: To determine the in vivo allergenicity of two grades of peanut oil for a large group of subjects with proved allergy to peanuts.
Design: Double blind, crossover food challenge with crude peanut oil and refined peanut oil.
Setting: Dedicated clinical investigation unit in a university hospital.
Subjects: 60 subjects allergic to peanuts; allergy was confirmed by challenge tests.
Outcome measures: Allergic reaction to the tested peanut oils
Results: None of the 60 subjects reacted to the refined oil; six (10%) reacted to the crude oil. Supervised peanut challenge caused considerably less severe reactions than subjects had reported previously.
Conclusions: Crude peanut oil caused allergic reactions in 10% of allergic subjects studied and should continue to be avoided. Refined peanut oil did not pose a risk to any of the subjects. It would be reasonable to recommend a change in labelling to distinguish refined from crude peanut oil.

Key messages
Peanut (groundnut) allergy is the most common cause of deaths related to food allergy. Peanut oil is often suspected of causing reactions to meals in which a more obvious source of peanut cannot be found

Refined peanut oil is odourless and flavourless and is commonly used in catering. Crude peanut oil, which is known to contain considerable amounts of protein is used only rarely, when a peanut flavour is deliberately required

In vivo challenges of 60 subjects with proved peanut allergy showed no reaction to refined peanut oil, but six (10%) reacted to the crude peanut oil

If refined peanut oil is used properly and is not reused after cooking peanuts, it seems to be safe for most people with peanut allergy; crude oil represents a risk

The confusing use of the term groundnut oil should be stopped, and food labelling should distinguish between refined and crude oils

2. Does peanut oil elicit an allergic reaction?
If refined peanut oil is used properly and is not reused after cooking peanuts, it seems to be safe for most people with peanut allergy; crude oil, however, represents a risk. Cold pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil is NOT safe for peanut allergic individuals.(SOURCE NATIONAL PEANUT BOARD)

Most health professionals agree that refined peanut oil is unlikely to be a problem for people with peanut allergy, because almost all the proteins that cause allergic reactions are likely to be removed during the manufacturing process. However, refined peanut oil is still covered by food labeling rules and so it will be listed as 'peanut oil' when used in pre-packed foods.

Cold-pressed, or unrefined/unprocessed (crude) peanut oil can contain peanut proteins, which can cause a reaction in people who are sensitive. Remember that peanut oil is often called 'groundnut oil'.

Phil Lieberman, M.D.

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