Hamilton looks at banning peanuts at stadium, arenas and other city buildings

Melissa Thompson says her daughter is too afraid to go to Hamilton Tiger-Cats games because of the peanuts there.
Fiona and Melissa Thompson say they're pleased that the city is considering a ban on peanut products in municipal buildings. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The city of Hamilton is looking at banning peanuts in all city buildings, including Tim Hortons Field stadium, FirstOntario Place and recreation centres.

City councillors voted unanimously in favour of looking into a ban on Monday. It came after Hamilton mom Melissa Thompson says her nine-year-old daughter Fiona can't go to football games, or other events in public buildings, because of her nut allergy.

Fiona is in danger if she even touches nuts, or touches the same surface as someone with peanut oil on their hands, Thompson told the board of health. She carries an epinephrine auto injector everywhere, and Thompson walks around "with Lysol in my purse" to keep her away from peanut oil.

Fiona likes Hamilton's CFL team, Thompson said afterward. But the last game they went to, peanut shells littered the ground, and Fiona sat there "like a robot." Even going to the mall, she can't touch anything for fear she'll come into contact with something peanut related.

"Even with the EpiPen and everything, I get really scared," Fiona said. 

If the city bans peanuts at buildings, "I would be happy because I love the Ticats but I can never go."

Councillors unanimously voted to look into a ban, a motion moved by Sam Merulla, Ward 4 councillor. Lloyd Ferguson, an Ancaster councillor who initiated a pilot project to have EpiPen and Allerject injectors in local food courts, added to it — now he wants injectors in every city building.

Currently, the pilot project is at Jackson Square, but the city hopes to expand it. The program launched last September, and as of August, the mall security guards have never had to use the injectors. The city is trying to include Eastgate Square and Lime Ridge malls involved.

City council will ratify the decision on Nov. 25.


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