The newly approved health claim relates to peanut allergies. The health claim states “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.” Per the FDA’s official statement “the new claim on food labels will recommend parents check with their infant’s healthcare provider before introducing foods containing ground peanuts. It will also note that the claim is based on one study. The FDA will continue to monitor the research related to peanut allergies. If new scientific information further informs us of what we know about peanut allergies, the FDA will evaluate whether the claim should be updated.”
Peanuts are one of the eight foods identified as a major food allergen by the FDA. These eight foods: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans account for 90 percent of all food allergies. These major allergens are required to be identified on food labels, and are most often identified in the ingredients list. The newly approved health claim only relates to peanut allergies, it does not claim to prevent any other type of food allergy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for six months, then introducing solids and continuing to breastfeed until at least 12 months of age. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease recommends introducing peanut containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months to prevent peanut allergies. Each infant’s ability to start solid foods should be based on your infant’s developmental level not a specific age. Before starting any solid foods make sure your infant can hold their head up, open their mouth for food, and be able to move his or her tongue to take food off a spoon and swallow. Also, be sure to introduce new foods one at a time and only every few days to allow for monitoring of any possible reactions. It is always best to talk to your medical care provider to ensure the recommendations that are personalized for you.