Food Standards Agency advice on eating peanuts while pregnant

The agency is struggling to keep up with the apparently confusing findings of various ongoing studies.

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 new advice is given in the table below. This advice refers only to peanuts (also known as monkey nuts or ground nuts), and not to other foods that can sometimes trigger allergic reactions (such as eggs, milk, wheat, and other nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts).

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.

Click here for the full advice

First published in August 2009

If you found this article interesting, you will find many more articles on peanut and tree-nut allergy here, and reports of research into the conditions here.
You can also find articles on anaphylaxis here, cow's milk allergies here, egg allergy here, histamine intolerance here and articles on a wide range of other allergic and intolerance reactions to a wide range of other foods here.


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