October 16, 2013

Northwestern Football Game Sacks Peanuts: When the Northwestern Wildcats face off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ryan Field in Evanston on Saturday, something will be missing: peanuts. Northwestern University is hosting its first peanut-free football game to give fans with allergies a chance to focus on the game instead of worrying about negative reactions to the popular stadium snack, which can range from mild irritation to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. "When the whole game is peanut-free, you can relax and enjoy the game like everybody else," said Julie Campbell, president of the not-for-profit Illinois Food Allergy Education Association.

posted by rcade to football at 04:35 PM - 12 comments

Greater Chicago decides to make a sporting event nut free and the default choice isn't a Cubs game?

When my mother was a schoolgirl, she attended a Northwestern football game. Right before kickoff, there was a stir among the crowd, caused by the conspicuous arrival of Al Capone, who was dressed in a custom tailored purple suit in a show of stylish allegiance to Northwestern's colors.

Mr. Capone apparently enjoyed the attention, but he had an imposing entourage of men with him who all looked uncomfortable and had unexplained bulges under their suit jackets.

We currently measure public safety by a somewhat different yardstick than we once did.

posted by beaverboard at 07:54 PM on October 16

Which side was Capone betting on, is the real question.

posted by Etrigan at 08:16 PM on October 16

I'm reminded of Loius CK's bit: "Of course!... but maybe."

posted by JJ at 07:33 AM on October 17

Wussification of America

posted by Debo270 at 12:38 PM on October 17

So if you are allergic to peanuts, just don't eat peanuts (or any other kind of nuts to which you might be allergic). Of course, it's not that easy. Any number of foods that have nothing at all to do with nuts on the face of it actually contain peanut or other nut products. The facility in which the foods were processed might also process foods made with nuts, and some accidental contamination can occur. All these things are required to be stated on the label, but when large containers of an item are broken down for sale at the concession stand, the label remains on the large container and nothing might appear on the container that the consumer receives. Even a tiny amount can prove fatal to some. I once made a serious mistake when my son's elementary school class had an ethnic foods night. Having lived in Japan, I provided sushi rolls that I prepared with egg among other things. I prepared the eggs in peanut oil. Fortunately, the parents of the child with the allergy asked if anyone had used peanut products before the child ate anything. It could have been really ugly.

posted by Howard_T at 02:55 PM on October 17

Wussification of America

Without trying to argue from the specific to the generic, a kid in my dorm in high school died one night when the housemaster got everyone Chinese food. There's no real harm in this effort, is there (especially given the rise in allergies)?

posted by yerfatma at 03:53 PM on October 17

I wouldn't object to "peanut-free" sections at stadiums, much the same way as I'd prefer to sit in "alcohol-free" sections at sporting events.

I'm wondering how they'll handle it if a jerk might try to sneak in a bag of peanuts even though it is announced as a "peanut-free" environment...

posted by grum@work at 04:14 PM on October 17

Wussification of America

I wasn't aware that courage required people to make no symbolic gestures for those who might die from food allergies.

posted by rcade at 04:28 PM on October 17

I get that people have horrible allergies that can lead to serious heath issues and possibly death. That being said, i see kids put at tables in the corner because they brought peanut butter sandwiches to school. at some point you become so worried about the outlier that u punish everyone else. What happened to personal responsibility. I dont think that many people skip football games because they may have peanuts there. Northwestern really doesn't care about peanut allergies. They did it for the Pub in my humble opinion.

posted by Debo270 at 11:15 PM on October 17

Occam's Razor. More likely they did it because of all the free publicity they imagined or to save lawsuits? Also pretty cool that you acknowledge the possibility of death but want them to keep serving peanuts because that's how things used to be in the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad). Old people have been carping about "personal responsibility" since Cain and Abel.

posted by yerfatma at 08:43 AM on October 18

My brother is extremely allergic to tree nuts, almost killed him once and he's had a couple other worrisome reactions, but I wouldn't expect a stadium to stop serving nuts because of it. Having peanut free sections seems like a better solution.

FWIW, the Wikipedia entry on peanut allergies

An increasing body of medical opinion holds that recent increases in peanut allergies and the measures taken in response show elements of mass psychogenic illness, hysterical reactions grossly out of proportion to the level of danger.[3]

posted by tron7 at 10:39 AM on October 18

Northwestern really doesn't care about peanut allergies.

And you know this how, exactly?

The reason Northwestern did it is simple: to raise awareness. A college official said of the event, "We all read the news and keep up with trends and somebody saw it and thought it would be good idea to attack."

The school has done ground-breaking research in turning off the allergic reaction to peanut proteins.

posted by rcade at 02:51 PM on October 18

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