Peanut Allergy Question Peanut Notes No. 56 2024

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I am the dietitian with NC State Dining. The National Peanut Board recommended that I reach out to NC State Extension with the following question, but please forward this email if there is a different contact for this question:

I recently found out that our Agroecology farm is growing peanuts. I am trying to determine if this could pose an allergen risk for other crops grown on the farm (the crops grown next to it, or for future crops grown in that same soil). I’m having trouble finding research on this topic and would love any insight! The produce grown on this farm comes to the dining halls, which do not use peanuts in their recipes, so I just want to make sure I’m covering all of the bases and being safe for our students with severe peanut allergies.
Of course no one can say there is no risk. But simply having peanuts on the same farm does not create meaningful risk. You would have to have a pod or kernel or plant material contaminate the produce you are getting from the farm. That is an issue for the people harvesting. It is extremely unlikely that growing peanuts the previous year would have an impact on contamination of the produce the year later. There would have to be contamination by the actual peanut plant for there to be an issue. As long as those harvesting make sure a peanut plant or pod does not get into the produce, there should be no problem from a peanut allergy standpoint. Someone has to directly consume the peanut to cause a problem.
A lot of produce and crops come off of farms where peanuts are grown. I am not aware of any issues with respect to peanut allergies from other crops coming off of the farm. The proteins that are allergenic are in the peanut and would not persist in absence of the peanut. The key is to make sure the produce does not have peanut plants contaminating it. That can be emphasized with the people harvesting and providing the produce.