By Michael Pistiner MD, MMSc, Director of Food Allergy Awareness, Education and Prevention, MassGeneral Hospital for Children Food Allergy Center

The FDA has released a new health claim that they will allow certain manufacturers to place on peanut containing products for infants. The new FDA qualified health claim links early peanut consumption and reduced risk of developing peanut allergy.

As per the FDA, the claim reads:

"For most infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy who are already eating solid foods, introducing foods containing ground peanuts between 4 and 10 months of age and continuing consumption may reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy by 5 years of age. FDA has determined, however, that the evidence supporting this claim is limited to one study.If your infant has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts."

The FDA's qualified health claim linking early peanut introduction and reduced risk of developing peanut allergy carries with it important implications. Most importantly, there is an absolute need for healthcare providers caring for infants to be aware of and knowledgeable about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)'s Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States.The new FDA claim adds additional urgency to the work that organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are doing to increase awareness and offer support to clinicians and families to implement these guidelines. Included in the language of the qualified healthcare claim is the need to check with your infant's healthcare provider. This is so important, as infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy will need screening prior to introduction, and the claim doesn't address or specify quantity of peanut protein. These issues must be addressed by knowledgeable healthcare providers.

The MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), Food Allergy Awareness, Education and Prevention Program is working with pediatricians within MGH, Partners and our surrounding communities to help implement the NIAID Guidelines and help prevent peanut allergy.

Additional resources to help support pediatricians and families:

MGHfC and the new FDA Claim, in the Media: