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Systematic review of literature on early life patterns of exposure to and avoidance of food allergens and later development of sensitisation and clinical food allergy
Project Code: T07052;
- Thompson, R. L., Miles, L. M., Lunn J., Devereux, G., Dearman, R. J., Strid, J. and Buttriss, J. L. (2010). Peanut sensitisation and allergy: influence of early life exposure to peanuts. British Journal of Nutrition. Jan 26: 1-9.
British Nutrition Foundation
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 has therefore funded 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 have helped the Agency to review the precautionary advice issued in 1998.
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