The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday new research from the National Institute of Health (NIH) has found introducing smooth peanut butter into a baby’s diet may prevent peanut allergies later on.
NIH’s clinical trial found that introducing foods containing peanut butter to infants at high risk for developing peanut allergies as young as four months can reduce their risk of developing an allergy later on in childhood by around 80 percent.
“Before 2008, clinical practice guidelines recommended avoiding allergenic foods in young children’s diet,” said Daniel Rotrosen, an official at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “[This] study is the first to show the early introduction of dietary peanut is beneficial and identifies an effective approach to managing a serious public health problem.”
The findings prompted NIH to issue new guidelines in January to recommend parents who have infants with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both to introduce peanut-containing foods into a child’s diet around four to six months of age.
Peanut allergies are one of the most common and dangerous food allergies that are the leading cause of death related to food-induced anaphylaxis in the U.S., the state agency noted.
FDA has, in turn, announced plans to add labels to peanut containing foods regarding the research while continuing to keep tabs on peanut allergy research.
“We know that there’s more to learn about food allergies. The more we learn, the better we can consider how best to introduce allergenic foods, as well as prevent and treat food allergies,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. “The FDA remains committed to advancing and supporting research and innovations that help lower the rate of food allergies and better protect the public health.”
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