Although rare, peanut contamination can occur in unpackaged baked goods


February 16, 2022

2 minute read


Disclosures: Miller reports no relevant financial information. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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According to a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Additional safety measures are therefore necessary to protect people with peanut allergies from accidental exposure to unpackaged products, Travis A. Miller, MD, medical director and CEO of The Allergy Station in Roseville, Calif., and his colleagues wrote.

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Researchers randomly selected 18 bakeries that sell peanut products, including grocery stores and local stores selling American, French, Cuban, Haitian, Chinese, Polish, Italian and Indian cuisines.

Next, the researchers purchased baked goods that intentionally did not contain peanuts, including chocolate, carrot, raisin, and vanilla cakes and cupcakes; chocolate chip, butter, coconut and sugar cookies; blueberry, cornbread and cheese muffins; and cinnamon rolls.

A week later, the researchers purchased the same items from the same bakeries for batch comparisons. All samples weighed at least 100 g and were sold and packaged according to the usual practices of each bakery.

Samples were then transported to a central, clean, peanut-free environment, where they were individually double-wrapped, weighed, labeled, cataloged, and shipped overnight to the Food Allergy and Resource Program (FARRP) at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.

FARRP performed qualitative and quantitative analysis of the samples for peanut protein contamination using an enzyme immunoassay.

The 56 samples from New York and 99 samples from Miami that were tested included 77 cupcakes, 48 ​​cookies and 29 muffins, four (2.6%) of which tested positive for peanut protein. All four were from New York bakeries, representing 7.3% of New York samples.

Three of those positive samples – including a chocolate cookie, a chocolate cake and a vanilla cake – were identified in the first round. When these products were retested, only the chocolate cake again tested positive.

Contamination levels in the four samples ranged from 1 ppm to 6500 ppm, or 0.1 mg to 650 mg of peanut protein per 100 g of each sample.

This range also equates to approximately 0.07 mg to 474.5 mg of peanut protein consumption per single eating episode, based on single food occasion consumption estimates from the National Health and Nutrition Survey. from 2003-2010, or 0.63 mg to 832 mg based on 90th percentile consumption estimates.

Although the doses of peanut protein needed to trigger an allergic reaction vary from individual to individual, 50% of people with peanut allergy have trigger doses ranging from 30mg to 100mg, with 1% having trigger doses as low as 0.2 mg, the researchers wrote.

The levels of contamination found in these samples fall within this range, the researchers continued, which could trigger allergic reactions in most people with peanut allergies. Packaged foods must have labeling indicating possible allergen contamination, but these samples were not packaged, making this labeling voluntary.

Based on their findings, the researchers called for additional measures to prevent unintended allergic reactions, including risk assessment practices, changes in food manufacturing and food labeling requirements to ensure choices. safe food.


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