Ask the Allergist - Do Food Allergens Remain on Objects?
Q: I am a school nurse and have benn asked if cross contamination can occur from board games for children with food/skin allergens. The school's parent-teacher organization is questioning if they should provide new board games versus buying them used and/or taking donations. I am not sure how long allergens can remain on an item, hence my email to you. What would you recommend?
A: Yes, food allergens can certainly remain on objects. Skin contact by touching an object contaminated with the food may cause a reaction in the rare individual who is highly allergic. Washing the objects (in this case, games) with water & soap has been found to be sufficient. This would also apply to the hands of the players, particularly if they just ate that food. However, applying this precaution in the whole school might be unnecessary and may create phobia.