Cracking the shell on peanut allergies

Texas peanut farmers announce new website for parents, educators and others with allergy questions

With the school year in full swing, many districts face challenges in how to best manage peanut and other food allergies in a school setting. While more than 98 percent of children in America can safely enjoy peanuts and peanut-containing foods, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, managing food allergies—particularly in schools—can often be an emotional and contentious issue.

That’s why Texas Peanut Producers Board, representing all Texas peanut farmers, is pleased to announce the launch of PeanutAllergyFacts.org, a new website for schools, parents, food service executives and manufacturers. The site offers science-based information about peanut and food allergies and links to resources about effective allergy management in schools and communities.

“Farmers in Texas and across the nation are proud to grow a nutritious food source for American families that’s loaded with protein and nutrient and available at an affordable cost,” TPPB Chairman Larry Don Womack of DeLeon said. “While most Americans can safely enjoy peanuts and peanut products, it’s imperative that we’re all conscientious of the needs of those impacted by food allergies. As peanut farmers, we take food allergies very seriously and are committed to finding a solution and educating others about peanut allergy facts–this website is just one way we’re doing that.”

The new website emerged from consumer research conducted in 2013 by The Bantam Group. Findings from the online research study, which surveyed 2,000 caregivers of children, revealed significant misconceptions about food allergies and allergy management, such as:

  • A significant misconception surrounding the prevalence of peanut allergies. Study participants perceived peanut allergies to affect 24 percent of the total U.S. population –or 40 times the rate reported by the National Institutes of Health (which says that 0.6 percent of Americans have a true peanut allergy);
  • Many people are self-diagnosing food allergies, or turning to those without allergy expertise and appropriate credentials;
  • Only 52 percent of households with a self-reported peanut allergy keep epinephrine on hand to treat an allergic reaction; and
  • 70 percent of people believe incorrectly that simply being near a peanut can trigger a life-threatening reaction.

Peanut farmers across Texas and the country have committed more than $10 million of their income to date to food allergy research, outreach and education through the National Peanut Board.

For additional resources and information about peanuts and managing food and peanut allergies in your community, contact the Texas Peanut Producers Board at www.TexasPeanutBoard.com or visit www.PeanutAllergyFacts.org.