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Food fight at the Children's Museum: Parents of kids with peanut allergies outraged over new PB&J-focused cafe

On Friday, the Boston Children's Museum announced it was thrilled to welcome Stonewall Kitchen's new PB&J Cafe to the space formerly occupied by an Au Bon Pain and a McDonald's.

"Come on in for delicious bites and refreshments - the perfect pairing after a trip to the Museum!" the museum enthused about the cafe and its menu, which, as the name states, has lots of peanut-butter offerings.

The thrill didn't last long, as parents of kids with peanut allergies quickly piled on to question what the hell the museum and Stonewall Kitchen were thinking:

Non allergic kid eats pb at your restaurant kid doesn't wipe hands plays on xyz hands on exhibit. Peanut allergic kid plays on xyz next, dead peanut allergy kid.

The museum responded that Stonewall Kitchen is an independent concern, nothing to do with the museum at all, really, aside from the museum leasing some of its space in the museum to it, and besides no food is allowed in the museum anyway, outside of one designated "brown bag" area.

The museum attached a statement from Stonewall Kitchen that said previous tenants in the space had sold foods with allergens, too. Also, the statement continued, the new cafe has prominent allergen warnings on its doors, making it sound like kids would only enter the cafe after visiting the museum rather than before. And nobody's forcing people to eat there, or to consume the other offerings there, such as clam chowder and milk, which also have allergens. Oh, and the museum doesn't ban peanut-butter sandwiches in its "brown bag" area. And kids allergic to peanut butter can eat a yummy almond-butter sandwich instead.

Just six minutes later, a parent replied:

It's a space that YOU are leasing to a PB shop that directly connects to your CHILDREN's MUSEUM. Having some allergens and allowing people to bring their own food in to that space is very different from leasing a space to a peanut butter restaurant as a primary offering. We will continue fighting this and frankly Stonewall Kitchen your response is gaslighting and erasing of people's very serious concerns for their children's safety and shows your lack of understanding and empathy. Be prepared for a significant backlash.

Another parent replied the issue is not that kids with allergies would eat PB&J in the cafe, but that kids who do eat there would then spread peanut proteins around the museum, endangering the kids with allergies:

Many kids with peanut allergies don’t have to ingest the allergen. They just have to touch the protein to their skin. Like at all of the interactive exhibits. True, brown bag peanut butter lunches are not banned, BUT encouraging people to eat Peanut Butter is absolutely different.

Allies checked in as well:

How can you give gluten-free options yet be serving a HUGE life-threatening allergen?!? We don’t have the allergy ourselves, yet our house is peanut free to keep our friends safe. Such an easy decision to keep our friends alive.

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And jelly.

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Eat peanut butter, anytime you can, but only if it's Peter Pan!

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I don’t see The Children’s Museum and Stonewall winning this PR nightmare without changing the concept, but it’s disheartening that they’re being shamed for a beloved food that 98% of the juvenile population can safely enjoy.

Of course no one wants to see a kid in anaphylaxis, but I would be curious to know how doctors and public health officials asses the risk of this cafe to visiting children? As I understand it, to cause an allergic reaction, the child would need to ingest the peanut product, which is certainly a food prep cross-contamination concern. There is an easy fix for this: abstention.

But as far as a peanut-eating child smearing a peanut product in the museum and then an allergic child licking it up and ingesting enough of it to make her sick? Is your kid really licking railings and exhibits to the point you have to worry? In Covid times? And how much railing-licked peanut residue is needed to cause a reaction?

I concede that I am insensitive here, but my point is it would useful to have expert data and analysis on this. I am skeptical that outside of eating food from the pb&j cafe there is a legitimate risk of an child having an allergic reaction given the museum’s current brown bag policy and how much peanut products many of consume normally.

But if pediatricians and other health experts make the case to nix the cafe, I would say listen to them.

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Don’t think you’d be skeptical if you had anyone close to you with a nut allergy! Nut allergic kids are frequently highly allergic to the oils and residue of the nut. So touching things in a museum where the only food source centers on nuts could actually trigger anaphylaxis. This is info I know as mom to a kid with food allergies who receives expert care (I wouldn’t doubt those experts would advise patients not to go if this actually transpires). It is completely bonkers that the museum would put in a nut-focused café in the year 2020. It reminds me of a zany concocted essay question on liability for the bar exam.

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The vast majority of potential customers would not avoid the restaurant.

The risk from other peanut sources being smeared on contact points pre-existed.

Though dumb marketing, I don't see the attraction of peanut butter losing out to the fear of peanut butter. In fact it may be safer if the threat is clearly stated by the restaurant presence than the hidden exposure via brown-bag means.
One slobby kid who is a regular visitor could be a significant threat.

This is an issue about inclusivity more than public health. If nut-free facilities become necessary by the demands of allies of allergic as well as by potential victims of exposure, maybe a new restaurant would be in that space and maybe even laws enacted about public play spaces and nut hygiene.

If yer protecting against occasional illness via food spoilage, is it proper to protect for allergens at a certain percentage of sensitivity?

And no shrimp or pineapple restaurants for kids!

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My understanding is that some people with allergies to peanuts can have a reaction from touching or inhaling particles. That's probably what the parents are concerned about in the exhibit spaces.

I don't have a horse in the race, but it seems like the museum should have seen this coming a mile away. Many schools are nut-free zones, so I'm surprised no one flagged this at some point.

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Pediatricians and allergists agree that having peanuts and tree nuts is so much of a risk that many schools and daycare do not allow it.

The problem here isn’t that peanut butter is being sold in a sandwich as it was at the former ABP. It’s that Stonewall has an entire menu of PB options increasing the potential that more people will buy a PB product.

I get it, parents don’t want to restrict their children from eating PB. My child is one of the many (studies show 1 in 50) with a deadly allergy. He also has a shock reaction to wheat. Here’s the thing w wheat, it’s so much easier to manage. And his allergy is that he needs to consume not just be in the same space (which is the case for some kids). So for all the folks who say- don’t go to the museum then or it’s your child manage your allergies, a lot of us parents with these kids are managing so many other allergies and do avoid places to mitigate risks. By PB is a tough one. It’s well documented too. It’s gooey, it’s hard to wash off, it gets everywhere.

Having kids bring their own PBJ to eat is very different then offering every visitor to the PBJ Cafe a deadly allergen. It’s increasing the odds of contamination of anything. And kids are messy and touch everything and don’t wash their hands enough - even in COVID times.

Especially since the museum tries to be inclusive to all kids, having this cafe- that has a door leading directly into the museum without having to go outside (or at least the other leasees did) is a dangerous oversight.

We won’t be going to the museum and I know many other parents won’t either.

And to Stonewall’s message to the public- it basically said others have sold PB in the past so we will too. Really tone deaf to a community whose kids may die bc of a bougie PB&J.

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Or was that not meant to funny? No matter really, just curious. Yes, it does suck that the poors bring their peanut-butter eating habits out of their filthy tenements.

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As was said in the letter, kids with allergies can touch a surface that has peanut residue on it and have a reaction if they're hands touch their faces. Children's museum exhibits are made to be touched. Most parents don't thoroughly wash their kids' hands after they've eaten and wiping with a napkin won't keep peanut residue from being spread throughout the museum. If a restaurant in a museum specializes in peanut products, that means hundreds of little hands spreading peanut residue throughout the museum. Really bad idea.

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It is exceptionally rare that skin-only contact with peanuts causes an allergic reaction. And when it does happen, symptoms are mild and not life threatening.

If a kid is touching her face and having a sever reaction, it means she is still ingesting it through licking fingers or ingesting it through the eye.

All I have seen in this thread is conjecture that a pb&j cafe will increase risk of allergic reaction in the museum halls and I have not seen any expert opinion.

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Not that rare.

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As was said in the letter, kids with allergies can touch a surface that has peanut residue on it and have a reaction if they're hands touch their faces. Children's museum exhibits are made to be touched. Most parents don't thoroughly wash their kids' hands after they've eaten and wiping with a napkin won't keep peanut residue from being spread throughout the museum. If a restaurant in a museum specializes in peanut products, that means hundreds of little hands spreading peanut residue throughout the museum. Really bad idea.

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Peanut allergies can be triggered by skin contact and trace particle inhalation. It isn't just anaphylaxis, asthma attacks can be caused by an airborne allergens. And those can also be deadly. Peanuts are one of the most common cause of food-related allergy death. 62 percent of food allergy-related deaths were caused by a reaction to peanuts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2651849/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5422552/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peanut-allergy/symptoms-c...

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seen it first hand, kid eating peanut-containing food touches surface, second kid with nut/peanut allergy touches said surface, then touches their own face, BINGO, trip to ER (2nd kid was fine but a little shook up as were the parents). Some kids are SUPER allergic, not just ingested allergens but contact with eyes/nose/mouth/lips. It sucks, it really does, for everyone. Not sure the right course here, but if it was your kid, you might be a little offended at the cavalier attitude some folks have to what can become a life-or-death situation very quickly.

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But kids can already bring a PB&J in their brown bag and eat it in the museum. If your kid is that allergic, don't take him out to a public place with multiple other kids over whom you don't have control. And get him to the allergist pronto for treatment.

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I would like to not see the risk increased compared to what it is now.

It's a common allergy. There's one children's museum in the city. All kids with a peanut allergy can't just stay home their whole lives. That's not a realistic solution.. They need to be able to use this space too.

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The argument, as I understand it, is not that peanuts should be banned from the premises, but that intentionally serving lots and lots of people a particularly gooey allergen is a bad scene. Any food can be an allergen, but peanut butter is sticky and more likely to be transferred to other surfaces. And adding a restaurant where basically everything contains peanut butter will of course increase the peanut residue in the museum.

I think the peanut allergy thing is overblown (in that a lot of people who think their kids have it are wrong) and I'm not sure what the *actual* risk is, but I have to agree with the complaints that this does meaningfully increase the risk for any kids who *do* have a peanut allergy.

TL;DR: Peanut butter is sticky, and this move would add more.

(EDIT: Also, entirely aside from the actual prevalence of the allergy, this was a total dumbass move given the current fear of peanuts from a certain portion of the population.)

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...this does meaningfully increase the risk for any kids who *do* have a peanut allergy.

This seems like a testable hypotheses. Is there any research to back this assertion up?

You make an assumption that this planned cafe will increase the spread of allergen throughout museum surfaces. My assumption is that there will be little-to-no increase in detectable risk to the museum-going population who suffer peanut allergies. My point is that I would hope that actual doctors and scientists would make the call one way or the other, but I think a few moms on Facebook are going to be the final arbiters.

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This is a chain. It is not impossible to find out. There is one in NY state.

Creating an allergen free zone is old school. There are many new treatments for allergies. It seems better to acquire tolerance than try to police the world.

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That swapping out a McDonalds for a Stonewall kitchen is certainly going to be a public health win in the big picture.

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I agree ANY food allergy especially peanuts is dangerous. Most people can't even smell them if the allergy is severe. They need to nix that too many children have been diagnosed with this and if you've never seen it before I'd advise you to do your research. I don't blame them that is not the best practice for them and the safety of their population. Why punish parents like that. Crazy.

Furthermore, McDonald's was fine their children for goodness sakes I didn't understand why ABP was there anyways the little children hated it and probably this new place too. Let children be children for a change.

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We don't ever eat McDonald's because nothing there is vegetarian including the fries, but my kids have always loved Au Bon Pain. It seems it would be great for most little kids, since they offer things like plain hardboiled eggs, plain fruit, single rolls and bagels, etc. You can get really anything you want. The one in Boston Children's Hospital is busy all the time and full of little kids.

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Oh lovely, hard boiled eggs you say? My four year old son is anaphylactic to egg. He’s had anaphylaxis from contact only. We carry an epi pen.

But there’s peanut at this particular cafe and that’s more important apparently.

Dairy, egg, sesame, tree nut and soy allergic kids can just suck it up but everyone’s going to lose their minds over a cafe selling peanut products

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What do they cook the fries in? Not beef tallow - not for a couple of decades now. I thought they used some sort of vegetable oil or shortening - or is it blended with something non-veg?

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"Natural beef flavor" in the vegetable oil.

https://www.wired.com/2014/07/whats-inside-mcdonalds-french-fries/

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Cool!
Can they start using that in the hamburgers?

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It sounds like that ER trip was due to an abundance of caution.

To be clear, you can ingest a food allergen through your eyes and if a person is having a peanut allergy reaction because it is on their lips it is because the allergen was then ingested. But it is extremely rare that skin contact alone will cause an allergic reaction to peanuts and there is no evidence that it is life threatening.

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We hardly ever heard about anything like this and now every 5th kid has someone allergic to something. What happened? And some parent seems quite entitled.

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https://forward.com/scribe/373352/how-israel-beat-peanut-allergies/

https://acaai.org/news/socioeconomic-status-linked-childhood-peanut-allergy

Most likely, the "wisdom" to not feed peanuts to small children has increased the rate of allergies. The first link talks about how peanut allergies are almost nonexistent in Israel, where a peanut snack is one of baby's first foods.

The second link describes how peanut allergies are more prevalent in higher socioeconomic groups, then suggests this is because of hygiene practices, but it's also a group that's much likely to follow strict parenting guidelines such as not feeding certain foods to kids.

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of peanut allergies in children is largely due to the fact that their parents grew up eating processed peanut butter and processed white bread, both of which were loaded with preservatives.

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Aren't theories usually based on evidence?

Maybe a hypothesis, then.

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I mean, child mortality also used to be in the 30% range or something ridiculous, it's totally possible people have always had life threatening but at the time poorly understood allergies.

Alas poor Jedediah did swell up like a ripe pumpkin and the lord did take him away from his 15 brothers and sisters.....

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I just see this being a sticky situation.

I have friends who have severe allergies, so much so that common surfaces touched with hands that have been on food (i.e. seafood). I can't imagine that kids would be much safer.

And yeah Au Bon sold food that would have been deadly to some but it wasn't an entire place dedicated to it. I see the parents issue.

Can't they find some other vendor? and fwiw when I worked in Fort Point, that was my easy lunch spot (cuz of online ordering). Meh.

Just bring back McDonald's... fatten food that marketed toward kids, but at least McD knows their allergens. (and for many like my friends who have severe ones, McDonald's is actually a safe bet due to its food handling)

(okay kinda kidding about McD. you know parents would be upset about that. But seriously get a new vendor!)

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Delicious. Inclusive. Goes well with Stonewall’s jams and jellys. It’s a new category that Stonewall to launch and grow along side it’s peanut/tree nut-free allergy friendly cafe(a). And of course you want to try some seed butter cookies.

I think the public health data/science should guide the conversation on preventing the cafe and not social media anecdotes and UHub armchair quarterbacking by myself and others. BUT with Jif and Teddie and Skippy already in the market, Stonewall would be smart to consider this.

If not, the Children’s Museum can hit me up. I know some talented people out of work that could make this work! :)

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for them.

I'm usually the first to call out this shit for nonsense, but even I agree.

Then again, its hard not to be against something like this when you're on a beautiful tropical island eating dinner at a beachside bar . And within 10 minutes of getting our food, someone in our party has a allergic reaction to one of the dishes because some cross contamination happened. 12 hours, an med flight to the main island later, and some multiple shots.. we're packing our bags to go home.

It wasn't fun forfeiting a expensive 14 day vacation on DAY THREE because some waiter didn't wash their hands after serving clams on the half shelf to someone else. After we REPEATEDLY told them we had someone allergic.

Or maybe it's because of my niece who's pretty much allergic to everything, including a peanut allergy that has caused her so many trips to the ER to get shots that an epipen just won't work on. And she's 12. Even off things we thought were safe, such as BREAD from the supermarket. (that was mispackaged)

I don't know.. maybe this " UHub armchair quarterback" actually gets it and it isn't an armchair response. I've been there multiple times and watched it happen. It sucks.

I 100% understand why parents are upset. If wait staff or supermarket staff can't do it as adults, I just do not think children can either nor is this really the appropriate venue for this.

They can find some other vendor for this space. Stonewall has other products. And you pretty much put the nail on the head why they are pushing for this

M A R K E T I N G

McDonald's had to go because its fatty foods was MARKETED to kids. But since Stonewall has a good image, it's OK to market to them because its good for them. Whatever. So tired of the double standard on this garbage. Marketing is marketing, no matter who its from.

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The space has got to be so insanely expensive nobody could do more than break even there. So marketing it is, which means it has to be a chain with a regional or national presence and a high mark-up on ingredients.

Legal Seafood, perhaps?

(I won't eat there. Allergies, you know. I wish there were treatment for that like there is for peanuts.)

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My point of substituting seed butters is that allergies to seeds are orders of magnitude more rare than peanut and tree nut allergies and you could eliminate peanuts and tree nuts from the menu and become a more allergy-friendly environment. Cross contamination worries become non-existent when you remove the allergens from the environment.

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And what then about those with dairy allergies (the allergy with the highest death rate), egg allergies (like my son), sesame, soy, fish...?

Nobody advocates eliminating dairy products even though dairy allergies are common and dangerous. My son has reacted to contact with eggs - we carry an epi pen. It would be awesome if there were no egg products in the cafe but nobody in their right minds is going to try to implement such a ridiculous policy.

Allergy parents need to be cautious and ready. Allergic reactions can happen anywhere. The risk can’t be eliminated but it can be managed - peanut as much as any other.

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“You can’t please everyone, so don’t bother trying!”

Yes, I would also advocate vegan/dairy-free baked options and fresh fruits and raw veggies to account for dairy/soy/wheat/egg allergies.

It’s possible to provide good food and significantly reduce allergy exposure through smart menu design and quality staff training.

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88 Acres is a Boston-based seed butter company. This could be a win-win :)

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Delicious. Inclusive. Goes well with Stonewall’s jams and jellys.

And also an allergen to some.

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Way fewer people are allergic to seeds than the ~2.5% of kids who are allergic to peanuts and the maybe 1% who are allergic to tree nuts.

The number of people allergic to seeds is fewer still than people with wheat allergies that would be allergic to the bread it was served on.

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...but you posited it as a solution - and certainly, it is a solution to some problems.

As someone who is allergic to both tree nuts and many seeds, I have learned to be cautious about what I eat. I am fortunate not to be so highly sensitive that a contaminated surface will put me in the hospital, but I'm not sure that your apparent acceptance of 1% harm is really all that consistent with the argument you seem to be putting forth.

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The peanut allergy folks refuse to admit that their "solutions" are problems for people allergic to their "sollutions", or that any one else could possibly have an allergy that is anywhere near as serious as their child's allergy.

Put simply: DON'T YOU SEE THAT MY KID HAS AN ALLERGY AND YOUR KID CAN JUST DIE?

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I’m not accepting of any harm. Even if a place did serve tree nuts, it would always be unacceptable to serve cross-contaminated food and it should be penalized if protocol is not followed. I’m not so caviler as to say “don’t follow safety protocols because 1% of the population is allergy to tree nuts”.

I stated that the population of children which suffer tree nut allergies is ~1%. And by moving to seeds AND having a nut-free environment, the numbers in the population at risk would be far fewer.

0.1% of the population is allergic to sesame seeds—the only seed which I could find readily available data—meaning 99.9% of the population is safe to eat seeds. Furthermore, there are numerous food allergies out there that sound made up, and often people are accused of making them up, but are real—cucumber+avocado, carrot, beef, alliums, mustard, melons, pork, corn, celery. I am not insensitive to your allergies and I hope you find safe, enjoyable places to eat. But I think you should understand that I don’t find that “1% harm” is acceptable and that eliminating all allergens is nearly impossible and would make profitability unlikely. With so many allergens, there will always be a compromise to be made by eating establishments and diners.

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I am not insensitive to your allergies and I hope you find safe, enjoyable places to eat.

I am able to find safe, enjoyable places to eat not because accommodations are made for me, not because there is an awareness of these allergens, not because they are widely publicized, but because I have learned to ask questions and take care of what I eat. This is an essential skill for people with allergies, and no amount of regulation or banning this or that food will create the safety that you are seeking.

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Some kids are allergic to dairy and PBJs are the best and most affordable alternative.

The peanut allergy crusaders are totally narcissistic and engaged in Superhero PARENTING! But, of course, my dairy allergy kids don't matter to them and "can just eat a cheese sandwich" because they don't care if it ain't their kid and their special superparent soapbox!

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The museum has not just a board of officers, but also a Board of Trustees and a Board of Overseers and an Advisory Board. There are so many members of these boards that you may well know one or more of them. Did any or all of them sign off on this contract?

https://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/about/leadership-board

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I guess the peanut butter sculpture is out too.

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So many children have peanut allergies and here is death at the door of a once happy place.

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How do other children's museums like the Science Museum handle peanut allergies?

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So bring McD back so that everyone is treated equally to obesity- and diabetes inducing cuisine.

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Allergies are always tough to mess around with.

I do wonder if the cafe was just called Stonewall Kitchen Cafe if anyone would have even noticed? It's just one type of item they sell and pb is available elsewhere in the building.

I also wonder where the Stonewall and Children's Museum community outreach staff were regarding this decision??? Putting aside whether or not one agrees with the outrage, how did they not see it coming? Over the past decade peanuts have showed up in controversies at schools, amusement parks, parties etc. Restaurant managers are getting certificates on allergen handling and some cities require this training. The way they rolled it out, the way they marketed abd the way they responded makes me wonder if they have ever picked up a newspaper before?

Seems to me that regardless if the science behind it, this is a stupid hill to take a last stage on. Just change the name and switch out the sandwiches. Peanuts are not central to the Stonewall store, Jan's are more so... Why not reverse course and show off what you can make with their Jan's without peanut butter? Make it into a learning moment. They lost the war with their response.

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This is not the full menu that other Stonewall Kitchen Cafes offer. Apart from the clam chowder and soup of the day, the only non-PB item is the "Deja Moo". There is more variety in the drinks menu than the food menu. Even if you leave aside allergies, this doesn't seem to be an attractive lunch option for families.

https://www.stonewallkitchen.com/on/demandware.static/-/Sites/default/dw...

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Stonewall Kitchens makes a few different kinds of butters (apple, almond, even gingerbread (which is mainly sweet potato). https://www.stonewallkitchen.com/food/applesauce-fruit-nut-butters/).

They should rebrand it the B&J Cafe (Butter & Jelly) or J&J (Jam & Jelly) Cafe and offer those other "butters".

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remember when airlines used to hand out a free bag of peanuts to everyone of the 250 passengers in an enclosed air-circulated space.

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Now they tell everyone to not eat peanuts because one kid on a huge plane has an allergy(this has happened on multiple planes for me). Sorry but I’m still gonna eat my trail mix because it’s all I have and you aren’t offering something to replace it.

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But I'm not cold enough or self-centered enough to open anything with nuts in an enclosed, recycled air place. I've never seen anyone have an allergy attack or die from an allergy, but I've read enough about those instances to know that I don't want to see it and absolutely don't want to be responsible.

Non-nut foods (nut-free cookies protein bars, sandwiches. Fruit, dried fruit. etc. etc. are easy enough for me to bring.

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...when it suits you.

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and goes through filters, at least on those big jets.

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Any jet rehabbed or built in recent decades (most) has much more fresh air intake than was common on older aircraft.

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Any jet rehabbed or built in recent decades (most) has much more fresh air intake than was common on older aircraft.

Isn't it exactly the opposite: that aircraft designed when jet fuel was 11 cents per gallon did not recycle cabin air, but that modern jets, as a fuel economy measure, recycle lots of cabin air so as to reduce the energy consumed by compressing the air?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207472/#ddd00040

" In older aircraft (see Table 2–1), all the air supplied to the cabin comes from outside air, as shown in Figure 2–4. "

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Your citation is from 2002.

That was before SARS round 1 and just after the anthrax attacks.

It was also before a wave of aircraft purchases for new fleets and replacement.

Anything built or rehabbed in the last two decades went back to more fresh air makeup at lower altitudes, due in part to studies such as these. Also note that air filtration systems on modern aircraft are vastly improved in response to the SARS event one year after this study was published, and also due to studies showing the spread of influenza on board.

The reason for throttling down the air intake up to 2000: fuel savings. Anything coming in has to be heated up. An aircraft operating at high altitude also faces the lack of oxygen in intake air. In an era when there were smokers onboard, it probably didn't matter much, and air quality in an aircraft got little attention. Once airborne pathogens were recognized as a health and safety threat, and the smoking stopped, recirculation got a second look.

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Anything coming in has to be heated up. An aircraft operating at high altitude also faces the lack of oxygen in intake air.

From a strict thermodynamics perspective, yea, the air outside is cold. From a practical engineering standpoint, the big challenge is cooling the air, not heating it, since the bleed air that will ultimately find its way to the cabin via the air cycle machines leaves the compressor stage of the engine at over 500 degF

And the percent oxygen in the air at jet cruising altitude is almost exactly the same as it is here on the ground, right around 21%

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If you have a kid who is allergic to Peanuts, you should avoid a place called the PB&J cafe.
Or you could bitch and moan about how A PB and J cafe is dangerous for people with peanut allergies.

I took the kids to rent a sailboat for the afternoon but none of us could sail, I complained.about that to the guy and he looked at me like I was crazy..

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who aren't eating in the cafe, but still want to visit the museum without having to worry about food allergies (in a place where nobody is eating).

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Before entering the museum I guess.

My kids school has a table in the cafeteria for those with peanut allergies, they didnt eliminate what other kids can eat because a few kids are allergic and from what they tell me hardly anyone sits at those tables because there is no danger unless they eat peanuts.
I'm no expert but that sounds sensible to me.

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Which exhibits would you designate peanut-free? How would you keep children who have touched peanut butter from using them?

The tables in a school cafeteria work because the school knows exactly who has allergies and how severe they are and can develop an appropriate protocol. It's not the same at a public museum.

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Make everyone entering the museum visit the handwashing stations first.

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Kids in schools share high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, crash bars, toilet handles, pencils, books, basketballs, toys for younger/pre-k kids.

It seems like kids eating peanut butter in school cafeteria and then smearing it around the rest of the school isn’t much of a risk. Why do we assume it is different when visiting a cafe and then a museum under direct supervision of a parent/guardian?

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Require people entering the premises to wash hands.

That would help prevent the additionally common norovirus, conjunctivitis, etc.

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Hand sanitizer and wipes at the entrance of public spaces is here to stay.

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Sanitizer and wipes kill germs, but they do not remove peanut residue.

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Putting sinks at entrances would be difficult, and no one would want to touch them. :0

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Soap is needed to adequately remove a peanut hazard from a surface; sanitizer does nothing and the mechanical force alone from a wipe is not adequate (otherwise a wet paper towel would do the trick).

However, food service Wet Naps/“moist towelettes” with a soap/detergent element should do the trick. The Covid-favorite Lysol disinfectant wipes are inadequate.

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Is it difficult though? Some money, a plumber, possibly a mason/coring contractor, and an electrician if you want the battery-free hands-free devices and you have yourself a sink.

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If your child has a nut allergy you need to be worried irrespective of what restaurants are nearby. Peanut butter is the #1 kids food so it should be assumed there are always children in the facility who ate a PB&J sandwich fairly recently.

Note: I'm not taking picking a side here. There's a good argument that the place shouldn't tempt fate by having a restaurant featuring nuts on premises. But there's a valid counter argument that any attempt to make the place nut free will fail and give parents a false sense of security.

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My daughter is deathly allergic to dairy and eggs. These are in everything. (Look up Mcdonalds fly ingredients.)
She almost die a few time from them. But you don't see an out cry for the pizza shop there. We shouldn't be banning foods at all. There are more then just one food allergy out there. Yes! dairy is oily can kill a child here. Some with soy, wheat, fish are more. But! I'm not going to tell them they need ban the pizza place. We need to start teaching our children how to live in this world then fear it. That is what I'm teaching my daughter. We can't keep them in a bubble. Just touching anything in a store, a mall, going to park, an Amusement park, Festival and eating at a reataurants. The list can goes on. There are other health needs out there that a child needs to eat nut in their diet. This way we need to teach them to live not fear. Teach them to wash their hand, not touch their faces, read the ingredients, not to eat something that they can't read the ingredients. Teach them that there are other disability out there that a child and people need to eat their food allergies.

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Let them eat cake.

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Just serve stone soup.

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I have an allergy to all nuts. Being in close proximity to someone who is eating nuts causes me to have allergic reactions. This includes nasal cavity inflammation, burning eyes, an itchy throat, and my voice starts to change. In the worst situation that I went through, I was hospitalized for several days. People have witnessed me going through this. As a result of this nut allergy, and many other allergies, I no longer eat out at restaurants, avoid flying, and carry epi pens everywhere. For some people, this really has an impact on their lives.

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Sounds like your experience is going to be affected whether or not there is a PB n J resto next to the children's museum. So what's your take? Do we make the world a peanut free space to make it a safer place for you? It's not like people NEED to eat peanuts. You tell us.

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In a weird way the pandemic has opened the eyes of some people about how life must be like for others. What you just described was me all summer even as friends said lets go to the bar or go do this thing and I stood my ground. It has really affected my social life and I am finding it hard to maintain. So then when I hear from people like you, how this is your normal it makes me more sympathetic to your issues because I could not imagine being on edge like this my whole life. I know that at some point I can put my guard down which helps me more forward.

I am not sure if these new lived experiences for some of us will change the world but at least those of us without restrictions can really start to understand what life really is like before we just say "oh just dont go to the museum then".

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If the Covid don't get ya, the peanut butter will finish the job. Seriously, why is anyone thinking it's a good idea to let your kids touch an interactive exhibit anytime soon? On the best of days it's a pink eye/strep throat gauntlet of doom.

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This seems like a mountain out of a molehill. Yes, it is certainly possible that someone will have lunch with peanut butter, not wash their hands (I mean, I guess in 10 years when people have stopped obsessively washing their hands), walk outside, go into the Children's Museum, touch a surface, and then an allergic kid will touch it or lick it or something and have a reaction.

But that's a pretty small chance! I certainly get not handing out peanuts on an aircraft where someone has a peanut allergy. But there are two reasons not to do that. First: the aircraft is a very confined space, and while ventilation is good, it's not perfect, and if everyone has peanuts (or even one person does and it spreads) it could be an issue. More importantly, if someone has a reaction on an aircraft, it's not easy to handle it! Assuming they carry an epipen, that probably buys time to get them stabilized, but still probably results in an emergency landing somewhere, but it is still a much larger health risk 6 miles above the surface of the earth.

If someone has an allergic reaction at the Children's Museum, they're 5 minutes from Tufts and 10 minutes from MGH, so take your pick. Best case scenario, an aircraft at FL 350 would take 15 minutes to hit the ground (but it could be a lot longer if the aircraft wasn't on a vector towards a major airfield), and then to taxi and ambulance to a hospital is another 5-30 depending on the distance from the airport to the hospital. In any case, the Children's Museum is generally not flying 6 miles above the ground at 500 mph over rural Nebraska.

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While I don't in general support attempts to mandate a world free of all possible allergens, I see peanut butter as a special case here:

  1. Severe, life-threatening anaphylactic response to tiny amounts of peanut are more common than many other severe allergies
  2. As anyone who has raised kids will tell you, peanut butter is sticky, spreads easily, and little kids get peanut butter all over their hands and all over the place.
  3. Kids in large groups in an unfamiliar setting (e.g. at the Children's Museum) tend to be excited, harder-than-usual to supervise and corral, and more likely to wear some of their lunch
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Oh, a special case, always a good reason to impose your will on someone else.

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You use the word “impose” but I don’t think it means what you think it means.

I, luckily, don’t have a dog in this hunt: nobody in my family has any life threatening allergies. And I don’t believe that we collectively owe anybody a world free of peanuts.

Nobody reasonable is suggesting that the force of law be used to ban nuts. They’re suggesting that the Children’s Museum, a private business that caters to large groups of little kids, might make different choices in its choice of a food service tenant.

Analogy: Raunchy porn magazines are protected free speech and newsstands ought to be allowed to sell them. As a museum customer, I would pressure the Children’s Museum not to have raunchy porn magazines on display at a newsstand in their lobby.

There are two possibilities here: either you are rejecting the concept of reasonable accommodation of disabilities, or you are arguing that eliminating peanut butter from the lunch menu is not a reasonable accommodation. I sincerely hope your position is the latter and not the former.

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Epi pen if you know of allergies, don’t expect the world to stop. Don’t make a we problem a me problem. Also wear a mask, another way to protect yourself from deadly things that we could ingest.

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Epi pen if you know of allergies

If you know ABOUT allergies, you know that an epipen should not be your first remedy. And if you don't know this and you or your child has allergies, you need to educate yourself.

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Translation: “if your legs don’t work, don’t make your problem into ours by requiring us to pay for buildings open to the public to have ramps”

TL;DR: “I’m all right Jack, eff you.”

How did we get to the place where that is mainstream position?

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(deleted)

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I suggest a different restaurant entirely, something with a theme that's historically accurate to the neighborhood.
I suggest Stevedores'! They should serve only the type of stuff that Ray Flynn's father and his coworkers would have eaten in the neighborhood (if they weren't brown-bagging it). Real old-school stuff - egg & fried bologna on a hard roll, chipped beef on toast...

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Are you willing to finance this endeavor? It's all about the ability to be profitable,

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If you or your child has a deathly allergy, the onus is on you to protect yourself or your child.

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Anus*

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Ach, I saw this on their site and posted the link, much to the chagrin of my FB friends who can't get beyond the paywall... never thought to look here first - where it appears you had it a day earlier.

What's the timeline on the coverage here vs the Globe? I remember this happening all the time at the hands of Boston Magazine... wait, whose byline is on the Globe story? ;-)

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.

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is the interactive stuff even available?

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Voting closed 8