Food allergies are estimated to impact the lives of up to 15 million people, including up to 8% of children, in the United States. The Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP) estimated that 3.5% to 4.0% of the overall U.S. population has a food allergy. In recent years, several research studies have also confirmed an upward trend in the presence of food allergies among Americans.
Based on a review of the scientific evidence, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will permit a new qualified health claim characterizing the relationship between the consumption of foods containing ground peanuts and the risk of developing peanut allergy by five years of age. The agency will use enforcement discretion for use of the claim on food products intended for infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy. The claim was evaluated in response to an industry petition filed on behalf of Assured Bites Inc.
The new claim is effective since 7 September 2017. FDA has determined, however, that the evidence supporting this claim is limited to one study.
According to a CDC report, data from the National Health Interview Survey indicated that food allergies among children increased by 50% between 1997 and 2011. Children with food allergies are typically expected to outgrow their allergies, but it has become more common for food allergies to persist into adulthood. In the United States, eight food allergens (wheat, crustacean shellfish, eggs, fish, peanuts, milk, tree nuts, and soybeans) account for approximately 90% of all food allergy reactions. Due to the significance of food allergens for certain individuals, the FDA implemented the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) to require manufacturers to disclose the major food allergens known as the ‘Big 8’ in packaged foods.
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Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration