Information from AAFA’s Ask the Allergist is not a substitute for a consultation with a health care professional. Always talk with your own doctor before making changes to your asthma or allergy management plan.
Q: Can cast iron pans that have had allergens cooked on them be cleaned in a way to make them safe to use, especially in a restaurants?
A: Food allergens can be removed from smooth surfaces using soap and water. Cast iron surfaces can be scrubbed with soap and water, but they usually are not. This would require re-seasoning with oil and drying to keep the pan from rusting.
The concerns I have is that the pan could have stuck-on food that is not properly removed. Or I would be concerned the restaurant would not be willing to wash their cast iron pans with soap and water. Cast iron pans would not be ideal to use in cooking for those with food allergies, unless the pan is used only for cooking certain foods (for example, egg-free pan, nut-free pan, etc.).
Dr. Douglas Johnston is our Ask the Allergist columnist. Dr. Johnston is a board-certified allergist/immunologist with Asthma & Allergy Specialists, P.A., in Charlotte, North Carolina. He obtained his D.O. from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York. Dr. Johnston grew up with both allergies and asthma. He decided it would be exciting to help people with these conditions. His passion about food allergies also comes from having a child with a peanut allergy.