Situation Food Allergy: The chips are safe. Are the hands?

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Situation Food Allergy. Does your child eat the chips?

BLOG POST #108 — Your 12-year-old son, who is allergic to dairy and peanuts, is spending the night at a friend's house. You had talked to the family prior about the allergy, and the friend's mother, who is a pediatrician, is well aware of the dangers of food allergies. The friend's mother even called you before the sleepover to review all the food your son can eat. She made a special grocery trip to buy safe foods.

Somewhere around midnight, long after everyone else is asleep, the teens go for the snacks. As told, they are only permitted to have the foods that the mother put on the counter. Your son is excited because he even sees a huge bag of his favorite potato chips! There's one little problem though, and your son sees it almost immediately. The bag of chips is open. Another family member in the house had enjoyed about a quarter of the bag earlier. 

No big deal, right? Or is it? Your child doesn't know whose hands were in that bag before he got to it. Maybe they poured the chips into a bowl. Maybe they reached in. Maybe their hands were clean. Maybe they just came from a peanut & mozzarella cheese juggling contest.

Your son is "starving" and his "favorite chips" are calling his name. What does he do?


JJ Vulopas is a rising senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at and follow him @thelandofcan on Twitter and Instagram.