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Peanut exposure "boosts allergies"

Children whose family members eat a large amount of peanuts could be at risk of developing an allergy in later life, a new study suggests.

Research by the Food Standards Agency found that families who eat large amounts of peanuts often go on to have children who develop nut allergies before they reach their first birthday.

The agency added that exposure to peanuts through the skin or through inhalation could be a "significant factor" in the development of an allergic reaction.

According to the research, families that consume up to 77.2g of nuts a week are more likely to have a child who is peanut allergic, while those who consume around 29g a week are less likely.

"This relationship was found to be independent of the child's own level of consumption of peanut," the study said.

"These results suggest that higher environmental exposure to peanuts during early life in the families of those children who went on to develop peanut allergy, may have promoted the development of peanut allergy," it added.

The study also revealed that if children with egg allergies are not exposed to peanuts through family members, they are less likely to develop a peanut allergy in later life.

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Food Standards Agency