Baseball season is still going strong, that great American pastime. And with baseball comes peanuts. Peanuts at the park, shells littering the stands. However, over the past few years, quite a few baseball parks have been going peanut free. It may not be the whole stadium, but there are often sections devoted to being peanut free.
According to an Associated Press article (which my husband found on nbsports.msnbc.com) now over a third of major league clubs are offering some peanut free seating. “In Washington…the Nationals go to great lengths to ensure the safety of the peanut-free seats, including washing the sections twice before the peanut-free games. They also make sure that fried foods throughout the ballpark are cooked in canola, not peanut oil. The Frederick Keys, a minor league team in Maryland, keep an allergist on hand during their annual peanut-free game to scan for signs of anaphylactic shock, a deadly reaction that can result in suffocation. Some think the steps are more about helping fans relax than countering a real safety threat.”
Interestingly enough, this very articles cites a statement from Dr. Robert Wood, the director of pediatric allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, who says watching a game in an outdoor ballpark poses no significant threat to peanut-allergic children or adults – even those who have had severe reactions in the past. But as a marketing technique, it works.
Because the stadiums have an open air, the risk of an airborne, inhalant reaction is quite low. In other places, like airplanes or an enclosed arena, the risk is much higher.
However, it makes people feel good and takes worries away so they can go relax and enjoy a game. I know I’ve often wondered what people with peanut allergies do if they want to go to a baseball game. Even if the chances are low, it can’t be all that relaxing to be surrounded by peanuts. What about touching the handles or seats where someone has been eating peanuts?
I think I’ve previously mentioned this site, http://www.peanutfreebaseball.com/ but I think it is worth mentioning it again here. It’s a site full of “information on all the peanut free, peanut reduced, food free and food allergy friendly baseball games around the US and Canada.” It’s worth checking in, in addition to the baseball parks in your area. Maybe there’s a peanut free game coming your way.