Changes to food allergy guidelines has led to a 16% decrease in peanut allergy among infants in Australia, according to recent study led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI). The researchers also found a significant increase in parents introducing peanut into their babies’ diet since the guideline changes.
“We’ve had our eyes on this situation in Australia for a while because they recommended peanut introduction before the age of one across the board,” said Sherry Coleman Collins, a registered dietitian nutritionist and consultant for the National Peanut Board and a nationally recognized expert in food allergies. “Unlike the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) guidelines, they did not call out different risk groups or recommend pre-screening for any infants. Some experts believe that this pre-screening recommendation may contribute to a delay in the introduction of peanut which then leads to more peanut allergies.”
In late 2020, The FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy announced their launching the Start Eating Early Diet (SEED) study to help generate vital insights on early introduction of multiple food allergens and communicate food allergy prevention strategies to parents and pediatricians.
“FARE’s SEED study is a step in the right direction,” continues Coleman Collins, “But there is still more to be done in the U.S. to help curb the prevalence of peanut, and other common food allergies.” However the news out of Australia is positive, and it continues to reinforce the benefits of introducing peanut early.
Introducing peanut foods in the first year reduces the risk of developing a food allergy to peanut. Once successfully introduced, peanut foods should be kept in the diet regularly. Our Puffworks baby Organic Peanut Butter Puffs are an easy way for parents to introduce peanuts to babies (4-6 months of age) as they dissolve easy and contain minimal amounts of sodium. As the babies get older, we also have crunchier puffs that come in other tasty, familiar peanut butter-y flavors to keep that peanut protein a part of their diet!
Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and consultant for the National Peanut Board. She is a nationally recognized expert in food allergies and a sought-after nutrition communicator. Follow Sherry at @PeanutRD on Twitter and Instagram.