Amal Assa’ad, M.D., director of the FARE Center of Excellence in Food Allergy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, shared the new rules (awaiting finalization), developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
1) Children with severe eczema and/or allergy should get tested. If positive, the child should see a specialist for evaluation. If negative, introduce foods containing peanut protein regularly. NIAID recommends 2 grams of peanut protein (about 2 tsp. peanut butter) at 4–6 months, three or more times per week. It can be thinned with water or added to pureed food.
2) “For children with mild eczema, try feeding them peanut-protein containing foods, because it’s not likely to hurt them,” says Assa’ad.
3) For children with no eczema or risk factor, “let them eat whatever they want!” she says. This includes foods containing peanut protein at 6 months with no specific frequency, she adds.
The Future: An Australian study showed 82 percent of patients with existing peanut allergies achieved sustained unresponsiveness to peanut protein after 18 months of treatment.