“This is a nut free school” reads the sign at just about every preschool these days. And any food product made in a facility that processes nuts must bear that warning–even if the product itself contains no nuts. The reason for this abundance of caution is simple: peanut allergies can be deadly.
A new study suggests that the solution may be found in the culprit. “Eating peanut products as a baby significantly reduces the risk of developing the allergy by 80% in high-risk infants,” a study in the New England Journal of Medicine claims. While that sounds like good news for the 400,000 kids who have a peanut allergy, it’s unlikely to do much immediate good. Feeding high-risk infants peanuts in a situation where there is a 20% chance of failure isn’t going to catch on with parents or pediatricians.