June 6, 2013
LONDONA pioneering new study being conducted by researchers at Cambridge University Hospitals, Imperial College London and The University of Manchester is investigating how factors like exercise and stress may change how much peanuts can cause an allergic reaction.
During manufacturing, non-peanut products may be contaminated by peanut residue from food made on the same machinery. Food manufacturers generally use may contain nuts" warnings because they cant be sure what level of accidental peanut contamination is safe. Consumers can find this type of labeling unhelpful, because it is not based on scientific evidence.
The 3-year TRACE study was commissioned by the Food Standards Agency and aims to find out exactly how much peanut will cause an allergic reaction and how sensitivity to peanut is altered by external factors, including exercise and stress. This will help improve may contain traces " type labeling, making it easier for consumers to decide which foods which are safe to eat. It could also be a blueprint for a whole range of other studies on nuts and other foodstuffs.
Researchers are looking for people with a peanut allergy to participate over a period of a year. They will use the peanuts used in the study to compare UK data with European data being used in the worlds biggest study into food allergies known as the Integrated Approaches to Food Allergen and Allergy Risk Management study (iFAAM).
The researchers will invite around 100 peanut-allergic people from a cross-section of the population to undergo challenges under varying conditions to find out how much peanut causes a reaction.
This study is the first of its kind in the UK, and globally, to find what external factors influence whether someone has an allergic reaction and to find out the amount of peanut that is safe for the population to consume, even after they have exercised or when they are stressed. It will not only bring reassurance to the thousands of people who are allergic to peanuts but offers a blueprint for improving food labeling for a whole variety of food," the researchers said.
Professor Clare Mills, who is also currently leading the iFAAM study, said: Peanut allergies appear to have increased in the UK over the last 15 years and this research will play an important part in helping to make life easier for allergy sufferers."
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