If you love someone who has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts, you know how scary a little peanut can be. The FDA is looking to decrease the numbers of those with the allergy, and keep parents informed about the latest science on how to prevent and treat the condition.
The Food and Drug Administration regularly monitors and reviews research on peanut allergies, and has now approved language to be put on specific food manufacturers’ labels.
The labels will alert parents to the increasing research that introducing peanuts to certain babies may actually reduce the risk of them developing a peanut allergy. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that the FDA’s goal is to ensure parents know the latest science on food allergies.
The FDA says that while food labels disclose when a product contains peanuts, none also tell parents that early exposure to peanut may reduce the risk of peanut allergy later. According to the National Institutes of Health funded study Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) trial, at-risk infants may benefit from early exposure to peanuts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released guidelines in January that recommended infants as young as four-to-six months and who had severe eczema and/or egg allergy consult with their pediatrician and be introduced to peanuts for what is basically the equivalent of rudimentary exposure immunotherapy.
The new label will let parents know that only one study supports this claim, and recommends parents consult their physicians before any exposure, but will also tell parents that, “For most infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy who are already eating solid foods, introducing foods containing ground peanuts between 4 and 10 months of age and continuing consumption may reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy by 5 years of age.”
The FDA still maintains they do not recommend young children consume peanuts as they are choking hazards.