What People With Peanut Allergies Should Know Before Eating At Chick-Fil-A

Fast food is all about convenience. Road trip cravings, weekday lunches, and last-minute dinners can all be satisfied by a quick excursion through the drive-thru. However, as in most instances when eating food prepared by others, things can get dicey when food allergies are involved.

Even though background research and follow-up questions are crucial for those with food allergies, there's a lot of trust being put into those preparing your meal when dining out. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 32 million people in the U.S. have some sort of recorded food allergy, with peanut allergies second most common in adults next to shellfish.  

In some restaurants, like Five Guys, peanut oil is used for frying, making it a hard no when it comes to those allergic to the nut. But it might surprise you to learn that Chick-fil-A, the popular fast-food chain specializing in chicken sandwiches, also uses peanut oil in its kitchen. To get specific, the restaurant chain is actually the largest consumer of peanut oil in the United States (via The Chicken Wire). But if you have a peanut allergy, don't panic yet — here's what you need to know about Chick-fil-A's use of refined peanut oil and your safety.

Is Chick-fil-A's refined peanut oil safe for those allergic to peanuts?

According to the Chick-fil-A website, the company "cooks with 100% refined peanut oil." For those with peanut allergies, this certainly raises a red flag, but deeper research into the makeup of refined peanut oil shows that the fried food at Chick-fil-A is actually safe to consume for a majority of those with peanut allergies (via Anaphylaxis Campaign). On the other hand, the FDA shares that peanuts are considered a major food allergen, as are any food ingredients that contain peanut protein. 

So how is the refined oil safe for those with peanut allergies? According to Peanut Allergy Facts, highly refined peanut oil does not contain peanut protein, rather, it loses it during the refining process and therefore is not considered a major food allergen by the FDA. 

Chick-fil-A uses 100% refined peanut oil, which differs from its crude, unrefined counterpart — the kind that's likely to cause an allergic reaction. To be clear, if you have a peanut allergy it may be safe for you to eat at Chick-fil-A, but it's best to consult your doctor before diving mouth-first into a Spicy Chicken Sandwich.