Groundbreaking peanut consumption study counsels exposure, not avoidance, for those at risk of allergy.

  • Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies, with exposure to the protein triggering severe, potentially fatal allergic reactions in some cases.
  • A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that exposing individuals at high risk of developing a peanut allergy to peanut products during infancy and early childhood significantly reduces the likelihood that they will ultimately develop the allergy.
  • Since the enactment of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), food manufacturers have been required to label peanuts (among other major allergens) in food.  Complications and challenges arise when companies are dealing with unavoidable cross-contact or test results indicating low levels of incidental allergens.  Although the current research will produce no overnight changes for the allergic population or the food industry, it remains to be seen whether this groundbreaking study will change current misconceptions about allergen avoidance and ultimately decrease the size of the allergic population in the U.S.