Keeping a Peanut Free Environment at Home

The Phoenix Center’s Stress Savers

Keeping a Peanut Free Environment at Home


Did you know that March is National Peanut Month???  Peanuts are among the most common allergy-causing foods, and they often find their way into things you wouldn’t imagine!  Reactions to foods, like peanuts, can be different. It all depends on the individual.  Some reactions can be very mild while others can be more severe.  Below are some tips on how to keep a peanut free environment!  By following these simple steps, you may be able to prevent a reaction in the future!

Understand the Food Label

Some food manufacturers voluntarily print advisory statements on food labels if there is a risk that a “safe” food came into cross-contact with a food allergen, such as peanut. Look for advisory labeling such as “may contain peanuts” or “produced in a facility that also produces products containing peanut.”

Label Foods in Your Home as “Safe” or “Not Safe”

To guarantee that everyone in your home can identify which foods are “safe” and “not safe”, label the food in your cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer.  Use red and green labels to decipher between “safe” and “not safe” foods.  Place red labels on harmful foods and green labels on safe foods.  Be sure to apply labels to all of the food items in your home.  Furthermore, designate areas in your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer for storing the “safe” foods.

Avoid Cross-Contamination of Food

The key to a safe kitchen is to minimize your chances for cross-contamination.  If possible, invest in separate cooking materials. When preparing foods, avoid cutting boards and cooking utensils made of wood.  These items can be damaged by the hot water in the dishwasher.  In addition, the wood can become porous and absorb allergens. As a substitute, use plastic cutting boards and silicone or plastic utensils, which can be sanitized appropriately.

Take Precautions When Cooking

When preparing the same meal for allergenic and non-allergenic individuals, always prepare the non-allergenic meal first.  In addition, if possible, wait to open the allergenic ingredients until after you have prepared the non-allergenic meal.  Furthermore, do not use the same utensils.  Be sure to immediately place all allergen-contaminated cooking materials into the sink or dishwasher.  Diligently wash your hands and wash down countertops, cabinet knobs, and faucets.  In addition, immediately place dish towels in the wash and throw away any paper towels used.

Wash Cooking Materials Thoroughly

Any cooking materials that have been used in the preparation of allergenic foods must be thoroughly washed in hot, sudsy water prior to being used again. In addition, to avoid having dried allergenic food stick to your clean materials, it is best to rinse off materials that have become contaminated prior to loading them into your dishwasher.


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