New product claims to reduce peanut allergies in kids

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A system to gradually introduce peanuts to babies is the first to be backed by the FDA

For new parents, uncharted territory looms around every corner. Each new stage of a baby’s development must be waded through with caution in order to avoid threats to a baby’s health and well-being.

The possibility of a peanut allergy is one potential risk parents must face as children begin the process of expanding their diet to include solid foods. To lower this chance, parents are now advised to introduce peanuts early and often.

In its revised peanut ingestion guidelines for babies issued earlier this year, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) suggested that parents should introduce peanut-containing foods early to reduce the chance of a peanut allergy developing.

Now, a new FDA-approved tool aims to make the process of introducing peanuts to a baby’s diet a little less nerve-wracking for parents.

Gradual introduction

Hello, Peanut gives parents a means of gradually introducing peanuts to children. The product includes eight packets of organic peanut and sprouted oat blends in powdered form.

Per its instructions, parents of babies five months or older without a known peanut allergy or previous exposure to peanut products should mix a packet in with pureed baby foods the child already likes. If a reaction occurs, such as flushing or hives, parents should stop using the product.

If no reaction develops, the system can be continued by administering “maintenance” packets (containing 2 grams of peanut powder) up to three times a week to sustain tolerance. These can be used until the baby can eat peanut butter or is old enough to chew and swallow peanuts without choking.

May prevent peanut allergy

“We are pleased the FDA approved our petition for a qualified health claim linking early peanut introduction and the prevention of peanut allergies," said Dr. David Erstein, an allergist who founded the company Assured Bites, the company that manufactures Hello, Peanut.

"We hope this will further educate and encourage parents to heed the advice of their medical professionals to introduce peanuts early and often to reduce the chance of a peanut allergy developing,” he said.

Consumers should note that the claim is qualified as opposed to authorized, meaning that there is some scientific evidence to support the product's claims but that the evidence isn't conclusive.

Not for babies at high-risk

The FDA still recommends parents check with their child's doctor before feeding a baby any foods containing peanuts. On its website, Hello, Peanut notes that the product is "intended for the general population without a history of food allergies or eczema."

Parents should also note that the product is not a cure or treatment for existing allergies. If you already know your child is allergic to peanuts, do not use the Hello, Peanut system.

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