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Food Allergy Prevention Guidelines

Food Allergy Prevention Guidelines

1 in 12 children suffers from a food allergy, it's essential for parents to be well-informed about recent medical guidelines to prevent them.


Introducing allergenic foods early and often can reduce your child's risk of developing food allergies. Read on to learn more about these guidelines and how to follow them effectively.

Food Allergy Trends

In the United States, nearly 6 million children under 18 deals with food allergies, with peanut allergies alone tripling in recent years. The most common allergens are peanut, egg, milk, cashew, almond, walnut, sesame, soy, and wheat, which together make up 90% of childhood food allergies. Notably, peanut allergies tend to result in severe reactions, but any allergenic food can be a trigger.

Food Allergy Risk Factors

Various factors contribute to a child's risk of developing food allergies, such as eczema and a family history of allergies. However, even babies without a family history are susceptible to allergies. One crucial factor you can control is the early and consistent introduction of allergenic foods, which significantly reduces risks.

Food Allergy Prevention Studies:

Recent studies have revolutionized our approach to food allergy prevention:

  • LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) Trial: Involving over 600 high-risk babies aged 4-11 months, this trial demonstrated that regular peanut consumption from an early age reduced the risk of peanut allergy by over 85%.
  • EAT Trial: With 1,300 babies, this trial revealed that consistent introduction of six allergenic foods, including peanut and egg, reduced food allergy risk by 67%.
  • PETIT Trial: Focusing on 147 babies with eczema, this study found that daily egg consumption significantly reduced the risk of egg allergy by nearly 79%.

Food Allergy Guidelines

Inspired by these studies, new medical guidelines recommend early and consistent allergen introduction for babies:

  • USDA Guidelines: The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends introducing potentially allergenic foods, such as peanuts, eggs, and more, alongside complementary foods. It's advised to start these introductions within the baby's first year to reduce the risk of food allergies.
  • AAAAI Guidelines: The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends early introduction of peanut and egg, emphasizing consistent feeding of 2 grams of peanut protein at least three times a week. Additionally, it advises against delaying the introduction of other common allergenic foods like cow's milk, soy, wheat, tree nuts, and sesame.

Tips for Safely Introducing Allergens

Ensuring the safe introduction of allergenic foods is crucial:

  • Introducing Peanut: Do not use whole peanuts, chunky peanut butter, or undiluted smooth peanut butter for children under 4 years old. Instead, use peanut flour or peanut powder.
  • Introducing Egg: Ensure eggs are fully cooked for baby's safety, either as part of recipes or using egg powder mixed with baby food.
  • Introducing Common Allergens: Introduce other allergens in baby-safe ways when they begin solids.

Simplified Allergen Introduction

Parents often face challenges when trying to introduce allergens consistently. A convenient solution is using allergist-developed systems like Ready, Set, Food! These systems provide pre-measured allergens that can be safely mixed with baby's food, aligning with medical guidelines. Ready, Set, Food! even works with breastmilk or formula bottles.

About the Author
Maternal Wellness Providers
  1. Sicherer, S. H. (2017, January 5). New guidelines detail use of ‘infant-safe’ peanut to prevent allergy. AAP News. https://publications.aap.org/aapnews/news/12250?autologincheck=redirected

  2. Perkin MR, Logan K, Marrs T, Radulovic S, Craven J, Flohr C, Lack G; EAT Study Team. Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study: Feasibility of an early allergenic food introduction regimen. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 May;137(5):1477-1486.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.12.1322. Epub 2016 Feb 17. PMID: 26896232; PMCID: PMC4852987.

  3. Natsume, O., Kabashima, S., Nakazato, J., Yamamoto-Hanada, K., Narita, M., Kondo, M., Saito, M., Kishino, A., Takimoto, T., Inoue, E., Tang, J., Kido, P. H., W K Wong, P. G., Matsumoto, K., Saito, H., & Ohya, D. Y. (2016, December 8). https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31418-0/fulltext. Two-step egg introduction for prevention of egg allergy in high-risk infants with eczema (PETIT): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31418-0/fulltext

  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

  5. Fleischer, David M, et al. “The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.” A Consensus Approach to the Primary Prevention of Food Allergy Through Nutrition: Guidance from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; and the Canadian Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, The Journal of Alleergy and Clinical Immunology, 26 Nov. 2020, www.jaci-inpractice.org/action/showPdf?pii=S2213-2198%2820%2931211-3#%20.

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