My recent dive into chocolate chip cookie recipes reminded me of a factoid I heard years ago from an individual in the pest control industry. He said that often when a person exhibits a chocolate allergy, the reaction isn't due to the chocolate itself, but rather to the roach contamination in the chocolate. I flashed back to a lecture by my high school biology teacher (complete with slides) about all the artifacts in food, such as rodent droppings and roach parts, as well as the levels of contamination considered acceptable by the FDA, and didn't really question the statement about roach v. chocolate allergies at the time.
In addition to peanuts, shellfish, cow's milk, goat's milk, eggs, beef, and lamb, The Kid also tests positive to dust, mold, cats, dogs, dogweed, and, of course, cockroaches. So today I fired up the Google and went looking all over the web for evidence to back up the story. Snopes.com, the urban legend debunking site, had never heard of it. None of the government or medical sites I checked had any mention of it. A couple of blogs made reference to the roach/chocolate allergy confusion, but I couldn't find a credible source to support the claim.
I sucked up my embarrassment and called The Kid's allergist. The friendly receptionist who answered the phone had never heard of it, but promised to check in with the medical staff and call me back. She didn't even laugh that hard. As promised, I got a call back an hour later assuring me that no one on staff, including the doctor, had ever heard of any kind of connection between cockroach and chocolate allergies. (All my calls to doctors' offices should be handled so promptly!) Not only that, but cockroach allergies are extremely common and there is no medical recommendation for sufferers of roach allergies to avoid chocolate. To finish demolishing the story, she quoted the allergist as saying that none of the his patients with an allergy to cockroaches had ever complained of a problem eating chocolate.
Now that that's settled, I'm going to try very hard not to think about this ever again.
Note: Thanks to Kolokotronis Takis and Stock.EXCHNG for the cockroach pic.