Prevalence of Peanut Allergy in Offspring of Peanut Farmers


Introduction: While exposure to environmental peanut during infancy appears to promote sensitization by the epicutaneous route, early and frequent peanut ingestion during infancy may prevent peanut allergy through oral tolerance. Due to parental occupation, the offspring of peanut farmers are likely exposed to peanut protein in their environment, but they may also have early introduction into their diet due to ready access. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of peanut allergy in offspring of peanut farmers. Methods: A survey was mailed by the National Peanut Board to peanut farmers in the United States collecting information on peanut consumption, peanut reactions, physician-confirmed peanut allergy (PA), epinephrine auto-injector prescription and history of other allergies in offspring. Egg allergy (EA) served as a comparator to peanut allergy. Results: Of 10,349 households surveyed, 1050 responses were received (2493 offspring, participation rate 10%). The self-reported prevalence of peanut allergy in the general population in the USA is 0.9%, 1.3%, and 0.7% for children 0 - 5 years, 6 - 10 years, and 11 - 17 years, respectively. In offspring of peanut farmers, PA vs EA was reported in 3.69% (10/271) vs 2.6% (7/271), 2.8% (14/493) vs 2.0% (10/493), and 1.48% (37/2493) vs 1.4% (35/2493) of offspring ≤10 years, offspring ≤15 years and all offspring, respectively. Physician-confirmed PA was reported in 3.3% (9/271), 2.6% (13/493), and 1.24% (31/2493) in the three groups, respectively. Physician-confirmed PA with epinephrine auto-injector prescription was reported in1.8% (5/271), 1.8% (9/493), and 0.68% (17/2493) in the three groups, respectively. Conclusions: We found that the self-reported prevalence of peanut allergy in offspring of peanut farmers was similar to that reported in the general population. This is a unique population that may provide insight into factors that influence development of peanut allergy.

Share and Cite:

Jagdis, A. , Liss, G. , Maleki, S. and Vadas, P. (2015) Prevalence of Peanut Allergy in Offspring of Peanut Farmers. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 6, 29-37. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.61004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ben-Shoshan, M., Harrington, D.W., Soller, L., et al. (2010) A Population-Based Study on Peanut, Tree Nut, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame Allergy Prevalence in Canada. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 125, 1327-1335.
[2] Sicherer, S.H., Munoz-Furlong, A., Godbold, J.H. and Sampson, H.A. (2010) US Prevalence of Self-Reported Peanut, Tree Nut, and Sesame Allergy: 11-Year Follow-Up. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 125, 1322-1326.
[3] Hourihane, J.O., Aiken, R., Briggs, R., et al. (2007) The Impact of Government Advice to Pregnant Mothers Regarding Peanut Avoidance on the Prevalence of Peanut Allergy in United Kingdom Children at School Entry. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 119, 1197-1202.
[4] Ho, M.H., Wong, W.H., Heine, R.G., Hosking, C.S., Hill, D.J. and Allen, K.J. (2008) Early Clinical Predictors of Remission of Peanut Allergy in Children. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 121, 731-736.
[5] Fleischer, D.M., Conover-Walker, M.K., Christie, L., Burks, A.W. and Wood, R.A. (2003) The Natural Progression of Peanut Allergy: Resolution and the Possibility of Recurrence. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 112, 183189.
[6] Skolnick, H.S., Conover-Walker, M.K. and Koerner, C.B. (2001) The Natural History of Peanut Allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 107, 367-374.
[7] Bock, S.A., Munoz-Furlong, A. and Sampson, H.A. (2001) Fatalities Due to Anaphylactic Reactions to Foods. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 107, 191-193.
[8] Sicherer, S.H., Burks, A.W. and Sampson, H.A. (1998) Clinical Features of Acute Allergic Reactions to Peanut and Tree Nuts in Children. Pediatrics, 102, e6.
[9] Hourihane, J.O., Kilburn, S.A., Dean, P. and Warner, J.O. (1997) Clinical Characteristics of Peanut Allergy. Clinical Experimental Allergy, 27, 634-639.
[10] Fox, A.T., Sasieni, P., du Toit, G., Syed, H. and Lack, G. (2009) Household Peanut Consumption as a Risk Factor for the Development of Peanut Allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 123, 417-423.
[11] Lack, G., Fox, D., Northstone, K. and Golding, J., Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children Study Team (2003) Factors Associated with the Development of Peanut Allergy in Childhood. New England Journal of Medicine, 348, 977-985.
[12] Brown, S.J., Asai, Y., Cordell, H.J., Campbell, L.E., Zhao, Y.W., Liao, H.H., et al. (2011) Loss-of-Function Variants in the Filaggrin Gene Are a Significant Risk Factor for Peanut Allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 127, 661-667.
[13] Tan, H.T., Ellis, J.A., Koplin, J.J., Matheson, M.C., Gurrin, L.C., et al., HealthNuts Study (2012) Filaggrin Loss-ofFunction Mutations Do Not Predict Food Allergy over and above the Risk of Food Sensitization among Infants. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 130, 1211-1213.
[14] Strid, J., Thomson, M., Hourihane, J., Kimber, I. and Strobel, S. (2004) A Novel Model of Sensitization and Oral Tolerance to Peanut Protein. Immunology, 113, 293-303.
[15] Marth, T., Strober, W. and Kelsall, B.L. (1996) High Dose Oral Tolerance in Ovalbumin TCR-Transgenic Mice: Systemic Neutralization of IL-12 Augments TGF-Beta Secretion and T Cell Apoptosis. Journal of Immunology, 157, 2348-2357.
[16] Du Toit, G., Katz, Y., Sasieni, P., Mesher, D., Maleki, S.J., Fisher, H.R., et al. (2008) Early Consumption of Peanuts in Infancy Is Associated with a Low Prevalence of Peanut Allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 122, 984-991.
[17] Remes, S.T., Livanainen, K., Koskela, H. and Pekkanen, J. (2003) Which Factors Explain the Lower Prevalence of Atopy amongst Farmer’s Children? Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 33, 427-434.
[18] Riedler, J., Braun-Fahrlander, C., Eder, W., Schreuer, M., Waser, M., Maisch, S., et al. (2001) Exposure to Farming in Early Life and the Development of Asthma and Allergy: A Cross-Sectional Survey. Lancet, 358, 1129-1133.
[19] Kagan, R.S., Joseph, L., Dufresne, C., Gray-Donald, K., Turnbull, E., St. Pierre, Y. and Clarke, A.E. (2003) Prevalence of Peanut Allergy in Primary-School Children in Montreal, Canada. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 112, 1223-1228.
[20] Soller, L., Ben-Shoshan, M., Harrington, D., Fragapane, J., Joseph, L., St. Pierre, Y., et al. (2012) Overall Prevalence of Self-Reported Food Allergy in Canada. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 130, 986-988.
[21] Osterballe, M., Hansen, T.K., Mortz, C.G., Host, A. and Bindslev-Jensen, C. (2005) The Prevalence of Food Hypersensitivity in an Unselected Population of Children and Adults. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 16, 567-573.
[22] Du Toit, G., Roberts, G., Sayre, P.H., Plaut, M., Bahnson, H.T., Mitchell, H., et al. (2013) Identifying Infants at High Risk of Peanut Allergy: The Learning Early about Peanut Allergy (LEAP) Screening Study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 131, 135-143.
[23] Akinbami, L., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (2006) The State of Childhood Asthma, United States, 1980-2005. Advance Data, 381, 1-24.
[24] Shaw, T.E., Currie, G.P., Koudelka, C.W. and Simpson, E.L. (2011) Eczema Prevalence in the United States: Data from the 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 131, 67-73.
[25] Remes, S.T., Koskela, H.O., Iivanainen, K. and Pekkanen, J. (2005) Allergen-Specific Sensitisation in Asthma and Allergic Diseases in Children: The Study on Farmers’ and Non-Farmers’ Children. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 35, 160-166.
[26] Braun-Fahrlander, C., Gassner, M., Grize, L., et al. (1999) Prevalence of Hay Fever and Allergic Sensitization in Farmers’ Children and Their Peers Living in the Same Rural Community: SCARPOL Team—Swiss Study on Childhood Allergy and Respiratory Symptoms with Respect to Air Pollution. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 29, 28-34.
[27] Meltzer, E.O. (1997) The Prevalence and Medical and Economic Impact of Allergic Rhinitis in the United States. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 99, S805-S828.
[28] Brough, H.A., Santos, A.F., Makinson, K., Penagos, M., Stephens, A.C., Douiri, A., et al. (2013) Peanut Protein in Household Dust Is Related to Household Peanut Consumption and Is Biologically Active. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 132, 630-638.
[29] Perry, T.T., Conover-Walker, M.K., Pomes, A., Chapman, M.D. and Wood, R.A. (2004) Distribution of Peanut Allergen in the Environment. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 113, 973-976.
[30] American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition (2000) Hypoallergenic Infant Formulas. Pediatrics, 106, 346-349.
[31] National Peanut Board, Fun Facts.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.