The National Peanut Board (NPB) announced the launch of PeanutAllergyFacts.org, a new website for parents, schools, foodservice executives and manufacturers. The site is designed to provide science-based information about peanut and food allergies, as well as links to resources about effective allergy management.
The new site is a key element of a new awareness campaign to emerge from consumer research conducted in 2013 by The Bantam Group, which revealed significant misconceptions about food allergies and allergy management. Among the findings of the online research, which surveyed 2,000 caregivers of children, were:
- 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.
“While 99 percent of Americans can safely enjoy the nutritional benefits of peanuts, it’s imperative that we must all be conscientious of the way we prepare, share and consume food,” said Bob Parker, NPB president and CEO. At the National Peanut Board, we take food allergies very seriously. We are committed to finding a solution and to educating others about peanut allergy facts and the safe handling and preparation of peanuts and peanut products.”
Since NPB was created 14 years ago, America’s peanut farmers have allocated more than $10 million toward food allergy research, education and outreach. As part of this effort, NPB has also assembled a Food Allergy Education Advisory Council to guide the board’s outreach efforts. The Council includes doctors, food allergy authorities, school and professional foodservice leaders and others with expertise in the issue.
Council members will provide expert guidance as NPB works to build better understanding and correct misinformation surrounding effective food allergy management practices.