Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
Peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop in the United States. Allergies to peanuts are among the most severe of all food allergies, affecting some 2.8 million people in the United States, including 400,000 school-aged children. Now, however, there is good news from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), where scientists have discovered a way to remove up to 98 percent of the allergens. Researchers found that by soaking roasted, shelled, and skinned peanuts in a solution containing food-grade enzymes, they can drastically reduce two key allergens. The process does not affect ﬂavor, and treated peanuts can be eaten whole, in pieces, or as ﬂour in various products. The process has been validated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through human clinical trials using skin prick tests. NC A&T officials expect reduced-allergen peanut products to hit store shelves soon.
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