New Product Is First to Claim It May Reduce Peanut Allergies

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New Product Is First to Claim It May Reduce Peanut Allergies
The Food and Drug Administration allowed the new item, developed by a physician, to make the claim just months after the nation’s top allergy experts reversed longstanding advice on preventing peanut allergies,
dropping recommendations to withhold all peanut-containing foods in early childhood in favor of early, frequent exposure, starting with peanut powder or extract for infants beginning to eat solid food.
While many foods like whole grains, nuts and supplements carry qualified health claims stating
that they may reduce the risk of diseases like cancer or heart disease, this is the first time a food product label will be allowed to make a qualified claim that it reduces the risk of an allergy, officials said.
“People who don’t have children with these allergies don’t always appreciate the very real danger of a deleterious event
that might even lead to death, but even more important, the extraordinary anxiety that pervades the families of children with documented peanut allergies who are afraid of exposing their children, ” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
And though the research studies concentrated on high-risk kids, he said, “we think this should be helpful for the general population.”
The label cautions parents whose babies are at high risk for allergies because of eczema or an egg allergy to have their baby evaluated by a doctor
and undergo skin or blood testing for peanut allergy before using the product.
“This not a treatment for peanut allergy and it’s important
that people understand that,” said Dr. James R. Baker Jr., chief executive of Food Allergy Research & Education, a patient advocacy group.
A new powdered peanut product is the first food item allowed to claim it may reduce peanut allergies
in infants, though parents of susceptible babies are urged to consult a doctor before trying it.

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