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American College of Surgeons Issues a Safety Advisory About Not Feeding Peanuts to Infants and Young Children at Risk for a Peanut Allergy

MEDIA ALERT! FROM THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHICAGO (March 3, 2015): Pediatric otolaryngologists and surgeons are concerned with parents getting the wrong message regarding the safety/desirability of letting babies and young children eat peanuts to prevent them from developing peanut allergies.  Last week’s  news coverage of a scientific article published February 26, 2015, in the New England Journal of Medicine,* “Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy,” has prompted the  American College of Surgeons to release infant and child safety comments on the issue of feeding infants and young children peanuts.

“Recent news coverage concerning exposing babies to peanuts to avoid a food allergy into adulthood sounds positive, but it could have unintended disastrous outcomes,” the Advisory states.   “It is important that parents and caregivers are aware of the risks of giving nuts to babies and infants.  The scientific paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine responsibly addressed this worry but much of the news coverage of this research has not highlighted the dangers inherent with not proceeding with caution.”

The Advisory points out that peanuts place infants and young children at risk for dangerous aspiration episodes, provides commentary on the right setting for peanut exposure in infants and children at risk for allergy, and supports Choking Guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

The entire Advisory can be found online at: www.facs.org/peanutadvisory

The document was developed by the ACS Advisory Council for Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and the ACS Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery.

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* Du Toit G, Roberts G. Sayre P H, et al. Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy. N Engl J Med, 2015; 372(9):803-813.

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About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.

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Sally Garneski 
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