Those with peanut allergies may never experience the glory that is a PB&J – but the reality is actually far worse than that. You may go your entire life living in fear of the wrong ingredient ending up in your dish and not knowing it.
Recently, peanuts appearance in foods without disclosure has had tragic results, but scientists at the University of Western Australia may have found the solution. They are working on creating an allergy-free peanut that would not only help prevent allergic reactions, but boost the nutritional content of peanuts and help increase crop productivity.
"Countries such as India and [areas of] central and West Africa, when farmers are producing peanuts their crop productivity is very low," said Professor Varshney from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics told ABC News Australia. "And when they produce what they have, the peanuts sometimes have high levels of microtoxins."
The professor hopes by finding the genomes that cause the allergens, they will be able to modify them so that they are allergen free. "So that's good for health, and at the same time the farmers who are producing these [low allergen] peanuts will be able to sell those products in the international market," he said.
The hope is that the allergen-free peanuts with lower toxin levels would have higher yield and do better in the larger world market, so everyone would win.
But kids won’t be able to put away their EpiPen any time soon, these allergy-free peanuts are very time-intensive to produce, and may not be here for a while.