A press release from a U.S. food company was sent out with the erroneous claim that one of its new products contains peanuts that are allergen-free – a claim that could be deadly to those with peanut allergies.
The product is Organic Amazonian Wild Jungle Peanuts, by California-based Sunfood Nutrition. The company’s press release said, among other things, that “Testing has revealed that these amazing nuts are free of aflatoxin – the mould in conventional peanuts that is linked to food allergies and illness.”Steve L. Taylor, Ph.D., Director of the University of Nebraska’s Food Allergy Research & Resource Program and a member of FAAN’s Medical Advisory Board, responded: “Aflatoxin is a potentially toxic substance that can be produced on peanuts that are contaminated by certain types of mould. As a result, aflatoxin levels in peanuts are constantly monitored and strictly controlled. But, more importantly, aflatoxin has nothing to do with the allergenicity of peanuts.””Just because a peanut is aflatoxin-free doesn’t mean that it’s allergen-free. Even a peanut that’s free of aflatoxin can still cause allergic reactions in those who are allergic to peanuts,” said FAAN founder and CEO Anne Munoz-Furlong. “Misinformation like this can be deadly to the 1.6 million Americans who are allergic to peanuts.”Individuals with peanut allergy should continue to avoid all peanut products and speak to their doctor if they have any questions.(Source: The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network : June 2007)