At what age should children be given allergenic foods?


A study for the Food Standards Agency has recently been published detailing the outcome of whether early introduction to allergenic foods for babies and children above the age of 3 months is beneficial for the prevention of developing food allergies in the future.

Allergenic foods include milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts or almonds), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. For decades, paediatricians and other health experts argued that parents should delay a child’s exposure to so-called allergenic foods to reduce the risk of them developing an allergy.

The study consisted of 2 groups of children; one group of infants were breastfed and consumed allergenic foods from three months whilst the others were solely breastfed and given food at 6 months.  The food introduced to the first group of children included fish, cooked egg, milk, wheat, sesame and peanut.

Amongst the infants who were consuming the allergenic foods, the allergy levels were reduced by two thirds in comparison to the second group. It was discovered that the prevention of food allergies may be achieved with weekly consumption of approximately one and a half teaspoons of peanut butter and one small boiled egg.

It’s important to note that this study was carried out under the guidance of nutrition and allergy professionals, and if parents are concerned at all about their children’s dietary needs or possible allergic reactions they should consult their GP.  At Tops Day Nurseries, we take potential allergic reactions extremely seriously and so each different food type is labelled with any allergens the food contains. All staff and children have allergy forms and all kitchen staff must be aware of the precautions needed when preparing snacks and meals.

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