The challenges of preventing food allergy: Lessons learned from LEAP and EAT

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2018 Sep;121(3):313-319. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2018.06.008. Epub 2018 Jun 15.


Objective: To highlight challenges associated with this novel preventive strategy.

Data sources: The Learning Early About Peanuts (LEAP) and Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) Studies, with reference to other oral tolerance induction studies.

Study selections: Randomized clinial trials seeking to prevent food allergy through allergen introduction in infancy.

Results: Oral tolerance induction programs that use a regimen of consumption of 2 g/week of protein are effective in preventing peanut and egg allergy. LEAP findings suggest oral tolerance induction is allergen specific. Adding peanut and other common food allergens (egg, fish, sesame, milk) to the infant diet has no adverse nutritional or growth effects and does not increase rates of food allergy. Breastfeeding rates are not adversely affected by these interventions. In the Western world, nonwhite children have the highest risk of food allergy, but their families are the least likely to participate in oral tolerance induction programs.

Conclusion: Many challenges must be overcome to implement successful food allergy prevention strategies. Allergy testing of high-risk infants (those with moderate to severe eczema and/or egg allergy) before commencing oral tolerance induction is desirable, but access is not universal. Dietary interventions would ideally be implemented in infancy before allergic sensitization and allergy occur, using a program that provides protection against multiple common allergens. Further research and consensus with regard to food preparations, target populations, dosing regimens, and preparations and clearly defined adherence are now required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / administration & dosage*
  • Allergens / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / methods*
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens