Some food labels may soon alert parents that introducing peanut to certain infants
may reduce their risk of developing an allergy to such foods.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed research on peanut allergy and
approved language for certain food manufacturers to use on their labels.
“Our goal is to make sure parents are abreast of the latest science and can make informed
decisions about how they choose to approach these challenging issues,” FDA Commissioner
Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement.
About 2% of children in the U.S. are allergic to peanut, and food labels already disclose
when they contain it, according to the FDA. However, the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) trial funded by the National Institutes of Health found infants at risk of developing a
food allergy might benefit if they are introduced to peanut early in life.
In January, experts released new guidelines endorsed by the Academy that recommend infants as young as 4 to 6 months with severe
eczema and/or egg allergy be introduced to peanut after consultation with a pediatrician.
In response to a request from a manufacturer, the FDA announced Thursday it would
allow a “qualified health claim” on food labels containing ground peanut that coincides with those recommendations.
“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 claim reads.
The label will specify that only one study supports the claim and recommend speaking
with the child’s health care provider.
The FDA does not recommend young children consume whole peanuts as they are a choking