UK hospital studying peanut allergies to improve food labeling

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A three-year TRACE study at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in the United Kingdom is working to determine how much peanut an allergy sufferer can take before a reaction is triggered.

The study, commissioned by the British government's Food Standards Agency (FSA), could post results that will allow government regulators to set better standards for food labeling. The study will also determine whether stress level and exercise affect allergic reactions.

Goal is to improve 'May Contain' labels

The FSA says that the current "May Contain Traces of Nuts" labels are unhelpful and little or no testing is usually done to determine peanut contamination levels in foods labeled nut-free because there are no standards set for how those tests should be conducted.

The hope is that data from the study will form a framework for minimum tolerance levels and thus give the FSA something to work with for setting standards. This, in turn, could do the same in other countries such as the U.S. or Canada.

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