USA – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a qualified health claim for peanut, supporting continuing evidence that early introduction of the nut to infants can eliminate peanut allergy later in life.

The claim states, “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. F.D.A. has determined, however, that the evidence supporting this claim is limited to one study.

“If your infant has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, check with your infant’s health care provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.”

According to the commissioner of the F.D.A., Scott Gotltlieb, the claim does not cover whole peanuts, which are detrimental for young children and should not be consumed.

“As the incidence of peanut allergy grew, along with an awareness of the consequences, doctors began advising patients not to introduce peanut-containing foods to children under the age of 3 who were at high risk for peanut allergy,” Dr. Gottlieb said.

“While this advice was well-intended, new evidence-based guidelines recommend that the medical community consider a different approach.”

Their product containing peanut flour (ground whole peanuts) and oats is part of a seven-day introduction and maintenance kit where small amounts of peanuts are introduced to infants and children.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the early introduction of peanut-containing foods to infants may also prevent the development of peanut allergy.

According to Food and Drug Administration, epidemiological evidence suggests that peanut allergy prevalence in US children has at least doubled from 1997 to 2008, where peanut allergy is the cause of death-related to food-induced anaphylaxis in the United States.

The qualified health claim is based on the study involving more than 600 children between 4-11 months who were enrolled in a Learning Early About Allergy (LEAP) study.

All infants were considered a high risk for developing peanut allergy because they had severe eczema and/or egg allergy.

The study found that regular peanut consumption achieved an 86% reduction in peanut allergy at age 5 among those who had negative skin prick tests to peanut at the study’s entry and a 70% reduction in peanut allergy among those who had positive tests.