The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of labels claiming that products may help prevent peanut allergies in infants. The policy change came as a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. on food allergy labeling changes.
"As the incidence of peanut allergy grew, along with an awareness of the consequences, doctors began advising parents not to introduce peanut-containing foods to children under the age of three who were at high risk for peanut allergy. While this advice was well intended, new evidence-based guidelines recommend that the medical community consider a different approach."
Guidelines for "peanut allergy prevention" labeling are strict, but based on numerous studies.
The strict guidelines from the FDA require products to have not only a "can help prevent peanut allergies" label, if approved, but also advise parents to introduce the product to their child under the strict supervision of a physician. The qualified health claim must specifically state, in part:
"For most infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy who are already eating solid foods, introducing foods containing ground peanuts between 4 and 10 months of age and continuing consumption may reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy by 5 years of age."
This is the first time the FDA has approved a qualified health claim regarding preventing a food allergy. The FDA based much of its decision on new guidelines produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIAD), released earlier this year.
Dr. Gottlieb further said that the FDA will continue monitoring studies regarding food allergy prevention and, specifically, this peanut allergy prevention label. The claim will be updated as needed.
The first product to display the new FDA-approved peanut allergy prevention label will be from Assured Bites (pictured).