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Literature Review Early Exposure to Food Allergens and Development of Food Allergy

Institutions
British Nutrition Foundation
Start date
2007
End date
2008
Objective

The systematic review will comprise seven smaller systematic reviews which will cover:

  • The effect of maternal diet (in terms of allergens) in pregnancy and lactation and the development of later food allergy in the offspring
  • The diet of infants (in terms of allergens) and later development of food allergy
  • Non-dietary exposure to peanuts in infancy and the development of later food allergy
  • The effect that the COT advice has had on the prevalence of sensitisation and allergy to peanuts in UK children
More information

Peanut allergy is one of the most prevalent food allergies in the UK and commonly receives attention in the media because very small amounts can trigger severe, sometimes fatal, allergic reactions in susceptible people. Onset of peanut allergy typically occurs in childhood, with children sometimes reported to react on their first known occasion of eating peanuts.

In 1998 the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), which advises the UK Government, issued precautionary advice to mothers whose children have a family history of allergic diseases (asthma, eczema, food allergies etc), that they may wish to avoid peanut consumption during pregnancy and breast-feeding and until the infant is 3 years of age. This advice followed a review of the scientific evidence surrounding peanut allergy which suggested the possibility that infants could be sensitised to peanut allergens as a result of exposure before birth or during breastfeeding.

This precautionary advice has recently come under scrutiny, as further scientific evidence on the development of peanut allergy and other food allergies in children is emerging. The Agency is therefore funding a systematic review of all the published scientific literature relevant to early life patterns of exposure or avoidance to major food allergens and the development of food allergy in children, since the COT advice was issued. The findings of this systematic review will help the Agency to review the precautionary advice issued in 1998.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project source
View this project
Project number
T07052
Categories
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins
Commodities
Nuts, Seeds