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Testing of Government Advice on Peanut Consumption during Early Life

The People Partnership
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The method involved qualitative research amongst consumers, health professionals and other relevant stakeholders.

The consumer research comprised:

  • Group discussions with mothers and mothers-to-be with no family history of allergy
  • Group discussions with mothers and mothers-to-be with allergy in the family
  • In-depth interviews with mothers with a food allergy and mothers of a child under 3 with an allergy (high risk consumers)

The health professional and other stakeholder research comprised 14 x 45 minute depth interviews including two GPs, two health visitors, two midwives, two paediatricians, and two dieticians, two staff from the Anaphylaxis Campaign and advisers from two Royal Colleges (the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of General Practitioners).

More information

Background: In August 2009, the Government revised its advice to consumers about eating peanuts during pregnancy, breastfeeding and the first few years of life, in relation to the risk of developing peanut allergy in childhood.

The change in advice followed a major review of the scientific evidence that showed there is no clear evidence that eating or not eating peanuts (or foods containing peanuts) during pregnancy, breastfeeding or early childhood has any effect on the chances of a child developing a peanut allergy. Therefore, the Government’s previous advice that women may wish to avoid peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding and not introduce peanuts into their child’s diet before three years of age, if their child has a family history of allergy, was no longer appropriate.

The Government is currently funding a number of studies on peanut and other food allergies, with the aim of improving understanding of how and under what circumstances these conditions develop. It is hoped that these and other studies will provide more conclusive evidence in the future.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project source
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Food Allergens
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Nuts, Seeds