Introducing allergenic foods to youngsters from the age of three months may help prevent food allergies, a new study reports.
The research for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) - published in published in the New England Journal of Medicine - found that if the recommended quantity of allergenic food was consumed, a two-thirds reduction in overall food allergy was achieved.
The research compared infants that were breastfed and consumed allergenic foods from three months, with those solely breastfed until being given foods at six months.
Six allergenic foods - fish, cooked egg, milk, wheat, sesame and peanut - were introduced to the diet of one set of children selected from a group of 1,300.
Under very close monitoring, it was found that the prevention of food allergy may be achieved with weekly consumption of approximately one and half teaspoons of peanut butter and one small boiled egg.
Chief Scientific Adviser at the Food Standards Agency Guy Poppy said: “The FSA has an important role to play in helping consumers manage food allergies and this includes expanding our knowledge about how allergies develop. This research is an important part of that work.
“These findings will add to the body of scientific evidence that helps us inform public health policies and guidelines on infant feeding.
‘While this study will be of interest to parents, we would advise them to continue to follow existing Government infant feeding advice. It should also be emphasised that this research was carried out under guidance of allergy professionals.”