Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version

February 2005




RATIONALE: In Israel the majority of infants less than 12 months old regularly consume peanut products in contrast to the UK where infants avoid peanut products. Previous studies suggest a low prevalence of peanut allergy in Israel and raise the possibility that the processing of Israeli peanut snacks renders them hypoallergenic. Therefore, the allergen content and allergenicity of the most popular peanut products consumed by children and infants in the UK and Israel were compared to determine if such differences could explain the variation in the prevalence of peanut allergy.

METHODS: The total protein content of whole snack products was determined using LECO analysis and various immunoassays were utilized to determine the percentage of peanut protein in each product. The products were all normalized according to peanut protein content and subjected to SDS-PAGE, Western blot and Slot blot analysis with anti-peanut, anti-Ara h 1, 2 and 3 antibodies and pooled serum from peanut allergic individuals.

RESULTS: Peanut protein levels from Israeli and U.K. products were found to be between 68-100%. The Ara h 1, Ara h 2 and Ara h 3 proteins in each peanut product were intact and the levels were comparable. Similarly, IgE binding analysis with pooled serum from 9 allergic individuals was nearly identical when the same amount of peanut protein was used for each product.

CONCLUSIONS: The contents of peanut protein, individual major allergens and IgE binding capacity of the popular snacks from Israel cannot explain the large discrepancies in the prevalence of peanut allergy among the two countries.

Funding: National Peanut Board and the USDA

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