FDA Will Allow Food Companies to Claim Products Prevent Peanut Allergies
Baby food maker Assured Bites will be the first company to use the new labels.
The FDA is backing science that says adding a small amount of crushed up peanuts to your child’s food may prevent allergies in the future. As of yesterday, the agency is letting food companies say right on the label that some products can help prevent peanut allergies.
“This is the first time the FDA has recognized a qualified health claim to prevent a food allergy,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement on the agency’s website. "Along with the information that you currently see on food labels, which disclose when a food contains peanuts or peanut residue, the new advice about the early introduction to peanuts and reduced risk of developing peanut allergy will soon be found on the labels of some foods containing ground peanuts that are suitable for infant consumption."
Back in January, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released a set of guidelines saying that even those children with a high risk of peanut allergies should have a small amount of the legume added to their food, as it may help prevent the allergy from developing.
Assured Bites, which produces the baby food product Hello, Peanut, is the first food company to have the FDA-approved label, which will tell parents the product can be safely used to introduce babies and young children to peanuts. The FDA approved the label after Assured Bites petitioned the agency to recognize medical evidence that introducing babies to peanuts can prevent the development of food allergies.
Hello, Peanut consists of an organic peanut and sprouted oat blend that is meant to be fed to babies over a period of seven days, in order to build up the immune system’s tolerance to peanuts.
According to Today.com, Gottlieb said that introducing babies to peanuts “reduces their risk of developing peanut allergy later in childhood by about 80 percent.” In addition to prevention, researchers in Australia have been successful in curing some instances of peanut allergies in children even after they've developed.
This article originally appeared on FoodandWine.com.