ATLANTA –The National Peanut Board (NPB) has convened a Food Allergy Education Advisory Council, which will serve as a resource for the board in helping consumers, schools, manufacturers and foodservice facilities understand and properly manage food allergies.

The Allergy Council will hold its first meeting in March in Atlanta.

“As a pediatrician and a mother, I understand how sensitive and scary food allergies can be,” said Dr. JJ Levenstein, chair of the Allergy Advisory Council. “The National Peanut Board has a wealth of experience and resources it can offer consumers and food professionals, and this Council will help ensure we do so in the most meaningful and valuable ways.”

According to recent consumer research conducted on behalf of the board, Americans perceive peanut allergies to be significantly more prevalent than they actually are. According to the National Institutes of Health, less than one percent of Americans have a true peanut allergy.

The Council, comprised of doctors, food allergy authorities, school and professional foodservice leaders and others with expertise in the issue, will serve as a resource to schools, restaurants, and manufacturers who are trying to help consumers who might have a peanut allergy. The Council will provide its expert guidance as NPB works to build better understanding and correct misinformation about effective allergy management practices.

The Allergy Council includes the following experts:

  • JJ Levenstein, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician; President and Co-founder, MD Moms
  • Paul Antico, Founder and CEO, Allergy Eats
  • Garrett Berdan, RD, LD, Culinary Nutrition Consultant & Chef
  • Jessica Gerdes, MS, RN, NCSN, National Association of State School Nurse Consultants
  • Matthew J. Greenhawt, MD, MBA, M.Sc., Assistant Professor, Allergy and Immunology, University of Michigan Health System
  • Wesley Eby Johnson, JD, Escamilla & Poneck, LLP
  • William L. Weichelt, Director, ServSafe, National Restaurant Association
  • Rick Wolff, Culinary Consultant & Chef
  • Paula Zdanowicz, MPH, School Nutrition Foundation

Since NPB was seated 14 years ago, America’s peanut farmers have allocated more than $10 million toward research, education and outreach.

“We must all be conscientious of the way we prepare, share and consume food. While 99 percent of Americans can safely enjoy the nutritional benefits of peanuts, they are obviously unsafe to eat for those with peanut allergies. At the National Peanut Board, we take food allergies very seriously and we’re committed to educating others about the safe handling and preparation of peanuts and peanut products,” said Bob Parker, NPB president and CEO.

The National Peanut Board represents USA peanut farmers and their families. Through research and marketing initiatives the Board is finding new ways to enhance production and increase consumer demand by promoting the great taste, nutrition and culinary versatility of USA-grown peanuts. For more information, visit www.nationalpeanutboard.org.