Lately, I have been seeing an uptick in traffic to Food Allergy Buzz as a result of Google searches such as "does deep frying kill allergen", "heat kill food protein allergy" and "disinfect kitchen with peanut allergen". These are the sorts of Google searches that make my eyes bug out because it is a reminder of how much work we need to do to educate the general public about food allergies. If I had the money to make a TV commercial about food allergies, I think I would make one that explains that allergens can be cleaned off or removed with soap and water--not hand sanitizer!--and that no amount of heat will remove them. You can burn that food, char it, it still will contain that protein! Cross contamination is really a mystery to many people.
Does anyone reading this blog have the ability or connections to get the ball rolling for such a public service announcement or commercial? Any big companies in need of a good cause toward which to donate some money? I have a great idea for you-- this would be a good a cause. Getting more of the general public to learn that soap and water is what is needed to remove allergens from surfaces such as tables and toys would be a huge accomplishment. Furthermore, spreading the word that no amount of cooking will "kill" allergens in food would be immensely helpful too. I know these things now only because my son has a peanut allergy; I had to learn this sort of information. I knew nothing of allergens until we got that diagnosis and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so many people aren't aware of these basic food allergy facts. These facts are not immediately obvious or intuitive but a little education through a public service announcement would go a long way!
EDITED (thanks for suggesting it, Marketing Mama!) to add that hand sanitizer WILL NOT remove allergens--soap and water (and some hand wipes) do!