A new study underscores the importance of properly cleaning surfaces that come into contact with allergenic foods.
According to the Canadian research team, exposure to even trace amounts of peanuts on a tabletop or other surface can prompt a reaction in people with severe peanut allergies. Many parents of kids with these allergies wonder whether peanut residue can persist long after the food itself comes into contact with the surface.
Table with Peanut Residue Left Uncleaned
To answer this question, the researchers smeared 5mL of peanut butter on a laminated plastic tabletop. This table was then kept in an office at room temperature with normal overhead lighting, and was not cleaned for 110 days.
During this period, the researchers tested a sample of the table’s surface daily to determine whether any peanut residue remained. Every day during the test, peanut residue was detected on the tabletop.
Levels of peanut residue did not appear to decrease over time. However, after the surface was cleaned with a commercially-available cleaning wipe, no detectable allergen residue was registered.
The researchers concluded that common cleaning products “can easily remove peanut allergen from surfaces such as table tops.” They added, “regular cleaning of surfaces before and after eating should be reinforced as a safety measure for all individuals with peanut allergy.”