You may have seen recent reports in the news about newly-developed “hypoallergenic peanuts”. In today’s post, we’ll talk about this new technology and what it means to parents of children with peanut allergies.
An estimated 2.8 million Americans suffer from peanut allergies. For those with peanut allergies, peanuts can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.
Researchers at North Carolina A&T University developed a first of its kind food processing system that reduces the allergenicity of regular peanuts. Regular peanuts are treated with special enzymes, which the researchers have found reduces the levels of allergens in the peanuts by up to 98%!
At this point, only the science has been discovered, so you won’t find allergy-friendly peanuts and peanut products in the grocery stores just yet. However, North Carolina A&T State University researchers have teamed up with a company that hopes to commercialize the new technology, so you may see such products in the years to come.
Although the idea of hypoallergenic peanut butter is exciting for those with peanut allergies, it’s important to remember that hypoallergenic does not mean non-allergenic. Although the special processing reduces the allergens in peanuts, it is still possible to have an allergic reaction to a less allergenic peanut because it only takes a trace amount of an allergen to trigger a reaction in very allergic individuals. When these products become commercially available, it’s important to consult with your child’s allergist before trying them. If you decide to trial them, be sure to do so under close medical supervision in case an allergic reaction occurs.