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:

I whole-heartedly trust our allergist.  He airs on the side of caution and always thoroughly researches information before making a recommendation to us.  A physician’s information is so valuable, but I also felt it important to supplement with my own research…it’s what food allergy moms do.  After examining the research from our allergist and my own research, I felt confident in my decision.  Still, I like in to do doing a food challenge for a child that is no longer allergic to a certain food- the science may say it’s safe, but the heart hasn’t quite laid down its defenses.

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 exhaustive research by my allergist and myself, I felt confident in my decision to do a food challenge for Chick-Fil-A under our physician’s care.  As I mentioned above, even though my head knew the science and statistics from all that research, the experience was anything but relaxing…those of you who’ve been through a food challenge know exactly what I mean.  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 consult with your child’s doctors and allergist before trying a new food.  One child’s experience with a highly refined food allergen is not necessarily the same as the next child’s experience.   Be sure to visit Chick-Fil-A’s website to research this topic further (

33 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.

  18. I appreciate your thoughts on this. We have avoided CFA because of nerves alone as our allergist said it should be fine for our son. I also trust our allergist but find I am sometimes stopped by fear alone. It helps to hear how someone else struggled and then came to their decision. Thanks for sharing your experience. thisgratefulmama

  19. “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?”

    “Why would a restaurant adopt a policy of cooking with peanut oil”

    They had adopted the policy before peanut allergies picked up speed. Why would they change what makes it so good for everyone without a peanut allergy? The other fastest growing allergy is needing to suit everyone’s needs.
    I’m so terribly sorry for these children that suffer from these terrible dangerous allergies. But, there are other places to eat, right? Not ideal for your situation, so it must be changed right? My child also is not able to eat stuff because of complications but it never a dawned on me to ask why don’t they change it?… Come on.

  20. Thank you for your comments, T Powell. There are indeed other places to eat, and my family makes that choice on a fairly regular basis with various restaurants. As for cooking with peanut oil, 1 out of 13 children are affected with food allergies and with peanut being one of the most prevalent of those allergies, it makes for smart business sense to at least reevaluate. It’s difficult to understand a person’s journey (health or otherwise) until you walk a mile in their shoes…and the journey my family is on now is simply our own. Everyone’s journeys are uniquely their own. I’m sorry to hear your child is also not able to eat certain things because of complications. I sincerely wish you and your family well.

  21. We used to eat at CFA before I found out they used peanut oil. My son’s allergist says it’s fine and many people whose kids have a peanut allergy eat there and they are fine, but then there are people – like some who have posted here – who have reacted.

    CFA should really reconsider. This is not something that simply causes “complications,” but something that can be life-threatening. And it’s not like they inform you that they use peanut oil at the register; I found out through a friend. I’m sure they are losing tons of business because of it. My homeschool co-op gets together twice a week for park and lunch and we can’t eat there because we have 2 kids with allergies. That is at least 15 people whose business they could have during school hours. When we have our potlucks there are at least 50 families – we would love to get their nugget trays and fries, but stay away because of the peanut oil.

  22. I have suffered from peanut allergies my entire life and cannot even bake peanut butter cookies without sneezing and having difficulty breathing. The last time I ate at CFA, I had the same experience. That is when I found out they used peanut oil for frying. My allergist said that most Chinese restaurants use peanut oil as well and that I should not go into any restaurant that uses peanut oil because breathing the fumes could cause a reaction. Well, I read the information on CFA’s website and from the FDA and decided to eat a classic CFA sandwich yesterday, and guess what? Same reaction. I am miserable with itchy eyes, sneezing and a rash. I am living proof that the FDA’s information about highly refined peanut oil being safe for those with peanut allergies is not true. I am highly disappointed that they would put out this sort of information and risk the life of a child or an adult because these are life threatening allergies! Unless you carry an epi-pen with you, I would not experiment with eating food from CFA or any restaurant that uses peanut oil for frying. Just don’t feed your peanut allergic children fried food in peanut oil any restaurant including CFA until they quit using peanut oil to fry their foods. It is not worth the misery is causes or worse, their life.


    Our peanut oil is a high-temperature, heat-processed, fully refined peanut oil (refined, bleached and deodorized). This means the proteins in the oil are stripped out during the processing. According to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, highly refined oils “do not demonstrate a hazard to allergic individuals1”. There have been many well-designed studies to test the effect of highly refined oils on allergic individuals, and the majority of these “support the position that refined oils are safe for the food allergic-allergic population to consume1.”

    Also, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation, highly refined (heat solvent extracted) oils are “non allergenic2.”

    The following excerpt comes from the International Food Information Council2:

    Myth: Since I’m allergic to peanuts, I can’t eat anything with peanut oil.

    Reality: There are many misunderstandings regarding exactly what might stimulate the food allergic reaction. “Virtually all food allergens are proteins,” explained Steve L. Taylor, Ph.D., co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “And, the process of refining oil removes the protein which would trigger an allergic reaction.” Oils used in processed foods and in cosmetics are highly refined and should pose no problem for the food allergic individual. Yet, caution should be taken with natural, cold pressed or flavored oils. These oils, as well as oil that has been used to cook peanuts (or another food to which an individual might have an allergy), might contain the protein of the allergen and should be avoided. For example, an individual with a fish allergy should ensure that the oil used to cook his or her food was not first used to fry fish.

    In addition, the Food and Drug Administration states highly refined oils, such as our peanut oil, are not considered a “major food allergen,” and therefore do not have to be labeled as such4.

    As with any health concern or question, we recommend that you review this information with your physician before making your decision about whether peanut oil is safe for your personal consumption.

  24. I really don’t care what the studies say. I was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at the age of 34 and wasn’t used to checking for things like “cooked in peanut oil”. I went through the drive they at CFA and started having a reaction while eating nuggets and fries. I know it wasn’t a mental thing because like I said, I never even thought about it…until my throat started closing up.

  25. Maybe so. I can’t imagine that chick fil a would say their product is allergen free if it was not. It is not the standard peanut oil you purchase in a store. It is made specifically for them to remove the proteins associated with peanut allergies. Seems like that would open then up to a variety of lawsuits if these facts were falsified . It wasn’t the fries though for sure that caused your issue they are cooked in canola oil

  26. Yes, I stand among those who have had reactions to Chick Fil A chicken. It is a terrible feeling…I had no idea that I needed to watch out for oils that foods were cooked in. It happened to me four years ago. I couldn’t figure out what happened until my daughter said, call Chick Fil A and see what kind of oil they use….And, there it was. It had to be the oil. I had an immediate reaction and I was driving. It was scary. My ears itched, my throat itched, asthma attack, and throat started to swell. The other thing was a strong feeling of ‘being out of it’. And, like I said, I was driving. Luckily my teenage son was with me and realized something wasn’t right and had me pull over. Be extra careful with peanut/nut allergies.

  27. This information has really helped. My daughter has allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. I’ve been feeding her chik fil a with no allergy flare ups or any reactions. I was very pleased to know that the type of peanut oil they use was ok for my child to consume because chik fil a is a place we love to eat.

  28. Thank you for the info and sharing your experience with the Chick-fil-A food trial! My son has never been exposed to peanut because he tests so high, higher than dairy which he is anaphylactic to, and has failed other food challenges on 3/10 doses on foods he tests much lower… I will likely try something similar in office!

  29. My son doesn’t have a peanut allergy, only a tree nut allergy. And we didn’t get the connection for a while, but every time he ate at chick-fil-a (10+ times), he threw up in the car. So we pretty much avoid it unless he isn’t with us.

  30. I just wanted to inform you, our fries and breakfast hash browns are fried in 100% canola oil and contain absolutely no peanut.

  31. I have grown up with peanut allergies as well as a few other food allergies. I’ve never once thought that a fast food restaurant should stop using a product because I couldn’t eat it. I know first hand how harsh an allergic reaction can be, but for those places that use peanut ingredients or sesame ingredients (another allergy), I either take my chances that I will not get one of them in my food or that there will not be cross contamination. It is a free market, if you do not like a place because of their ingredients, go somewhere else.

    Also, you can not be upset that they do not tell you at the register about the peanut oil. Other places do not tell me that there are sesames on the buns, or that they use sesame oil in their salad dressing. I always ask. Having a food allergy, it is YOUR responsibility to research YOUR food. However, the company does place the oil in their ingredients or on their food containers, which is not the case with other companies that use other oils.

  32. I still believe it is the restaurants responsibility to inform the consumers of the use of peanut oil….

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