Chick-Fil-A and Peanut Allergies: Is It Safe?

Chick-Fil-A has always been one of my favorite fast food places to go.  The people are courteous, the facility is clean, and the food is healthier than that of many its fast food counterparts.

When my son was newly diagnosed with a peanut allergy I remember being shocked that a restaurant like Chick-Fil-A would use peanut oil to cook their chicken nuggets, fries, and so on.  How could a restaurant chain that focuses a great deal on young families offer food contaminated with peanut, one of the fastest growing food allergies in the United States?  Do parents even realize that Chick-Fil-A uses peanut oil for their fried menu items?  (It is important to note that recently Chick-Fil-A has changed policies and cooks their fries only in canola oil.)

On a recent visit to the allergist, I asked him how so many young children were able to eat Chick-Fil-A without food allergy complications and why the restaurant would adopt a policy like cooking with peanut oil.  He explained that Chick-Fil-A uses a highly refined for of peanut oil that is stripped of most of the offending proteins for peanut allergy sufferers.  He spoke at length with the local Chick-Fil-A manager as well as the chain manager and felt confident that my son (who has a very high peanut allergy) could safely consume  items (Chick-Fil-A only) cooked in peanut oil.  (For more information, visit Chick-Fil-A’s website that explains in specific detail about the correlation of food allergies to the peanut oil used in their facilities: http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Food/Ingredients-Peanut-Oil).

I whole-heartedly trust our allergist and took him at his word.  My head understood the facts and the statistics, but my heart just wasn’t there yet.  That was when the “what ifs” took over.

For the first year or two of my son’s diagnosis, the poor child had very little new food (other than the few items we had already tried) because I was too scared I would miss something when researching a new food or that there would be a communication gap between food manufacturers and restaurants.  This is not the kind of life I want for my child.  I want him to safely be able to experience new foods that I have done my research on and spoken about with his doctors.

After more positive reassurances by my son’s doctors, I ignored the “what ifs” and let him try Chick-Fil-A.  I’m pretty sure I held my breath the whole time he ate and for hours after.  It was a nerve-racking afternoon for me, but my son was loving the chicken nuggets and french fries!  He had absolutely no reaction to the peanut oil used by Chick-Fil-A.

Now we have a new place to eat out and sit down together as a family.  There is something for everyone…even those that are gluten-free, like myself!

It is wonderful to be able to support a family-friendly, Christian-based restaurant that offers healthy food choices!  Thank you, Chick-Fil-A!!!

*It is important to research thoroughly and speak with your child’s doctors and allergist before trying a new food.  One child’s experience with a highly refined food allergen may not be the same as the next child’s experience.   Be sure to visit Chick-Fil-A’s website to conduct your own research (http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Home).

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17 thoughts on “Chick-Fil-A and Peanut Allergies: Is It Safe?

  1. Pingback: Chick-Fil-A Offers Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets « The Food Allergy Mom

  2. Pingback: A Guest Post by Jodie, Senior Nutrition Consultant for Chick-Fil-A, Inc. « The Food Allergy Mom

  3. I was wondering if people with peanut allergies could eat CFA. I’m glad your son can experience the awesomeness, and bravo for you making an informed decision to let him try it. It’s the peanut oil that makes it taste so good! The ONLY breaded chicken I prefer to eat plain with no sauces.

  4. While Chick-fil-A worked for my son, it does not mean it will be safe for all individuals with peanut allergies. To determine if it is right for those individuals, I highly recommend the consult a licensed, board-certified allergist before taking any action.

  5. I was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at the end of last year at the age of 34. It’s very difficult being diagnosed after all of these years of never having to worry about food allergies. I practically grew up on PB&J! I did not realize that Chick-fil-A used peanut oil and had a slight reaction (tingling, itchy throat and tongue and coughing) after eating their nuggets and fries. Thankfully it wasn’t bad enough to use the epi pen, but needless to say, I won’t be going back and neither will my kids :(

  6. Thank you for writing this. We also talked with our allergist before eating here. My daughter has multiple food allergies, including peanuts, and this is the only place we all can eat. Love Chickfila!!

  7. I had the same reactions as Rachel & would not ever take my son, who’s asthmatic with peanut allergies.

  8. I didn’t realize that the nuggets at Chick-Fil-A were cooked in peanut oil. My six year old is allergic to peanuts. It wasn’t until he had already eaten that I noticed in very small print that peanut oil is an ingredient in the nuggets. My son developed hives all over his back and stomach. Luckily his face, mouth and thoat were not affected. It is the 4th of July and he is miserable. I hope we are still able to enjoy the fireworks tonight. I like Chick-Fil-A and hope they stop using peanut oil in their restaurant so we can go back there again.

  9. It is so helpful to read how different people react differently. I brought my peanut allergic son there before I knew they used peanut oil. He wouldn’t eat anything, and I’m thankful for that- he’s smarter than his mama! Now I just go to only a few restaurants that I’m familiar with and mostly cook at home. Thank you for the blog and I appreciate the comments as well.

  10. They still use peanut oil with the chicken nuggets. I would say it is better not to eat there until they eliminate the peanut oil.

  11. My 17 year old daughter eats at Chick Fil A a couple times a week. She has had a peanut and all tree nuts allergy her whole life. She knows immediately if she has eaten something contaminated with nuts. But she has no problem with Chick Fil A!

  12. My son is 7 and just today was told that he had a sever peanut allergy. We eat at Chick Fil A atleast once a week and he has never had any reaction and his allergist actually told me today that peanut oil is okay that he can in fact have it. Is this true for everyone or just certain people about the peanut oil being allowed?

  13. Hi, Stephanie. Every individual handles allergies differently and it is a crucial to speak with your allergist. For more explanation regarding Chick-Fil-A’s peanut oil policy, please visit their website where they offer an in-depth explanation.

  14. My daughter has a peanut allergy also…and I had no idea that chic fil a used peanut oil until today when we were sitting down eating and I noticed the information on the box of her hashbrowns. I was horrified!!! She has not had any sort of reaction to the food or I would have noticed something as we eat there all the time as a family. I think that this type of refined oil is ok also. So glad, because she really enjoys it.

  15. Are there any other chain resturaunts or fast food resturaunts you take your child to? My son has peanut allergies and Chick Fil A is the only place I’ve ever given him food from! He’s only two and I know he’ll want to try more food as he gets older!

  16. I used to work at chic fil a before I had a peanut allergy. Mine actually developed while working there. It started about six months into it, I would get a severe upset stomach followed by diarea after eating anything fried. Did not happen at other fast food places. Then my face started to break out horribly. After I quit, my face improved, but about 4 years later I realized it was the peanut, not just the greasy fried aspect. I ate pb&j and mouth started iching. I already had a nut allergy just not peanuts, so I realized then what it was. Felt stupid all those times it didn’t make sense. My allergist missed it.

  17. Interesting to see that some people have reacted and some haven’t. Always goes to show that different people have different levels of sensitivity. I’m pretty liberal about what I and my kids can try, but peanut oil just makes me nervous. If we’re concerned about cross contact when two foods touch, how can the allergens be removed completely from an oil? I think that my oldest ate something fried (french fries?) from Chick fil a before we realized that they used peanut oil, but since then we’ve decided that it isn’t worth it. My kids love their playscape though, so we go and get grilled nuggets.

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