Concern about peanut allergies grows

Are there any safe alternatives to peanut butter?

Americans lead the world in peanut butter consumption—500 million pounds annually. And Americans also lead the world in the incidence of peanut allergies. Allergies to peanuts are the most common cause of food-related anaphylaxis, which causes 125 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Experts estimate that 1 percent of the American population, or almost 3 million Americans, is allergic to peanuts, a statistic that has doubled over the last 10 years. Several studies have shown that women who consume peanuts during pregnancy or breastfeeding have an increased incidence of peanut-allergic children.

Someone severely allergic to peanuts can be sent into anaphylactic shock simply by being in a room where peanuts are eaten, which is why schools and aircraft are increasingly being declared peanut-free zones. Susceptible people, especially children, can also go into shock from being kissed by someone who has recently ingested a peanut product.

With concern growing over the increasing health and legal risks and the average American child expected to consume 1,500 peanut butter-based sandwiches before high school graduation, “we need to provide a responsible alternative for public consumption,” says Curtis Roettig, co-partner of The SoyNut Butter Company.

The Company was founded by three food industry professionals in 1998 and produces a product with similar color, taste and texture of peanut butter, but completely peanut/nut free. It effectively replaces peanut butter in all applications from sandwiches to sauces and eliminates the peanut allergy risk. “We have testimonials from both allergic and non-allergic individuals as well as institutions successfully using it every day,” says Roettig. The Company has run successful taste tests against peanut butter, and Bon Appetit magazine says, “We recommend the Original and Honey Flavors, which are available in creamy or chunky; there’s even a Chocolate blend that can remedy a sweet tooth.”

“We’re not anti-peanut,” says Roettig, “but SoyNut Butter does solve the problem, and it is actively good for you as well. The positive benefits of soy consumption are in the news every day”. The American passion for nut butter has turned soynut butter into an item that has moved beyond health food stores into mainstream supermarkets. I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter can be found on the shelves of such major chains as Shop-Rite, Safeway, Albertson’s, Kroger, Whole Foods, Wild Oats and many more.

From the Dec. 21-27, 2005, issue

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