Have your say in the future of food allergy recommendations! The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is seeking public comment on changes to guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy.
Federal health officials want to know what you think about three recommendations regarding the early introduction of peanuts to babies:
- High-risk infants begin eating peanut-containing food as early as 4-6 months. Infants are considered at risk if they have severe eczema, egg allergy or both. A qualified healthcare provider should perform testing first to see if an allergy already exists.
- Infants with mild to moderate eczema also begin eating peanut products early.
- Infants without eczema or food allergy have no peanut restrictions. Peanuts, along with other solid foods, can be introduced early, depending on family preference.
An expert panel for the NIAID developed these recommendations based on groundbreaking research that first came out a year ago. The first LEAP study results showed that high-risk infants who start eating peanut early have a lower chance of developing that allergy.
The NIAID released these draft recommendations before two related studies were released this month:
Can We EAT Our Way to Prevention of Food Allergies? (Enquiring About Tolerance Study)
The NIAID said the final recommendations may change based on additional information from the EAT study.
The last edition of the food allergy guidelines (2010) did not offer specific advice about how to prevent peanut allergy. It noted that there was little evidence that delaying food past six months would help.
The changes suggested by the expert panel note that families can take into account their own preferences when deciding whether to introduce peanuts early, after talking it over with their doctor.
The deadline for sending comments is April 18.