Food News

Florida Researcher Uses UV Rays to Zap Allergens From Peanuts

Are you tired of signs everywhere saying "This cookie/ice cream/coffee/hamburger/goat stew has been processed in a plant that uses peanuts"?

So are we, which is why we got so jazzed up about a new technique developed by a University of Florida researcher that might just get rid of peanut allergies forever.

According to The Southeast Farm Press, "Wade Yang, an assistant professor in UF's food science and human nutrition department, used pulsed ultraviolet light, or PUV, to reduce the allergenic potential of peanuts by up to 90 percent".

The pulsed light changes the peanut allergens into something the human body can't identify. If our body can't identify the peanut as an allergic threat, it won't produce histamines, those pesky chemicals released by our immune system that trigger sneezing, itching and rashes.

So far, Yang's procedures have reduced the allergens in peanut extract and peanut butter. Next stop...whole peanuts.  His goal is to prevent the allergy in peanuts (and, presumably,  other top food allergans like shellfish, milk, eggs, tree nuts, fish, soy, and wheat) before they reach us, thereby reducing (or eliminating) the need for antihistimines.

According to The National Peanut Board, about four percent of adults and four - six percent of children in the U.S. have food allergies. Allergic reactions can range from rashes to anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can lead to death.  


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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss