Preventing Peanut Panic

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For generations, peanuts have been a favorite, healthy American snack food (Planters, 2005). In recent years, however, peanuts increasingly have become a life-threatening nuisance. The profitable little protein-packed legume is responsible for about 160 to 200 deaths annually in the United States, and peanuts are responsible for causing 80% of all food allergy fatalities (Sampson 2003 and Scurlock et al 2005). It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans have peanut allergies and that hospital emergency departments treat about 30,000 cases of food-related allergic anaphylaxis per year (Sampson, 2003). The incidence of food allergies has been reported to be 1% to 2% in the general population and as high as 5% in children younger than 5 years, with 1.3% of all children exhibiting an allergic reaction to peanuts (Rous & Hunt, 2004).



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