NEW White Paper on Nut Allergies by The Peanut Institute
The Peanut Institute has created a twelve-page PDF booklet highlighting important research and information on nut and peanut allergies. A summary of the white paper topics is shown below. A downloadable copy of the booklet is available here. Please send us your comments or contact us at TPI@pmkassociates.com if you would like to USE or LINK TO this white paper. We will be glad to help!
Nut and Peanut Allergy Prevalence
Of the 1.1% people in the U.S. with nut allergies, half have a tree nut allergy and half have a peanut allergy.
It is a common misconception that peanut allergies are extremely prevalent, however, only 0.6 to 1% of the U.S. population have a severe peanut allergy and 20% of these allergies can be outgrown. Tree nut and peanut allergies represent about 1.1% of all allergies with about equal prevalence (about 0.6% each). To learn more about the prevalence of nut allergies in the U.S. and worldwide, turn to page 4 of the white paper.
Severity of Nut Allergies
An allergic reaction to nuts and peanuts can occur with ingesting only trace amounts. Most allergic reactions are not life-threatening, but in severe cases anaphylaxis can occur, which causes breathing difficulties and can lead to unconsciousness and death when not controlled or treated immediately. Although concern has risen about smelling or inhaling airborne particles of allergens, research shows this is unlikely to result in a reaction similar to when ingesting the food. Check out page 5 of the white paper for more information about the severity of nut allergies.
Recommendations for Food Allergy Management
To prevent an allergic reaction, the best recommendation is avoidance of the food allergen. It is also important for allergic individuals to take necessary precautions to minimize their chances of ingesting the food, such as reading ingredients labels, informing the necessary people, and planning ahead when dining out or attending a food-related event. In addition, highly allergic individuals should always carry epinephrine with them in case of accidental ingestion. See page 5 of the white paper for more information on managing food allergies.
What the Research Shows
Research has lead to a better understanding of the immunologic response to peanut allergens and has help to identify possible strategies for treatment. Although results are promising, there is currently no recommended treatment for nut and peanut allergies at this time and all strategies remain experimental. To read more on the extensive research relating to nut and peanut allergies, turn to page 6 of the white paper.
Non-Allergenic Peanut Oil
The majority of peanut oil that is used in foodservice and by consumers in the U.S. is highly refined peanut oil that has been refined, bleached and deodorized to remove the allergenic protein component of the oil. According to the FDA, highly refined oils are excluded from the definition of "major food allergens". Most allergic individuals can consume peanut oil without a reaction, but they should first consult their physician. To read more about peanut oil in relation to nut and peanut allergies, turn to page 10 of the white paper.