I was just reading about a family in Chicago who is suing a Chinese restaurant because their daughter died from peanut residue in the food. The article from the Chicago Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-peanut-allergy-lawsuit-20110318,0,107091.story) states that the 13-year-old had known severe allergies to peanuts. I am sorry for this family's loss, and think there are a few things that we can all take away from this.
Since the only information I have is from the article, there are few questions I have. Why was this student eating the Chinese food in the first place? With a severe allergy to peanuts, it is always safest to stay away from Chinese food, among other ethnic cuisines. My next question is why didn't she have an Epi-pen on her, so that when she was feeling a reaction, she could use it to save herself (or a teacher to help her)? Although there are other questions that come to mind, these are the ones that I find most important.
As an Allergic Reactor to peanuts as well as many other foods, I always stay away from ethnic foods. I may be missing out, but it is one of the ways that I can keep myself safe. Even if I were to check with a Chinese restaurant, and they said they wouldn't use any peanuts, I would still be concerned about the cross-contamination. It is just too risky with this kind of allergy! Better to be safe!
My biggest concern and worry for this student, and for all Allergic Reactors, is whether they are carrying their Epi-pen! As an Allergic Reactor, that is your lifeline. In case you do eat something that you shouldn't, you have the Epi-pen right next to you to help open your airways, then a call to 911! I can't emphasize enough how crucial it is to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have it with you! Even if you don't anticipate eating somewhere, the way to keep yourself safe (or your children safe) is to always have it with you!