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Thursday, September 20, 2007

UK Sets Standards for Allergy Formulas

A press release announced that Act Against Allergy, an independent international taskforce of allergy experts, set forth standards and guidelines for the diagnosis and management of cow's milk allergy (CMA) in infants in the UK. The guidelines were published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

In their paper, the Taskforce recommends against the use of soy, especially in infants under six months old, due to the risk of secondary intolerance which can be present in up to 60% of CMA infants. Alternative mammalian milks, such as sheep, buffalo, horse, camel or goat, present an even higher risk of cross-reactivity and are not recommended at all in CMA. Furthermore, milk substitutes based on grains, legumes or nuts, such as rice, oat, pea or almond milk, are to be avoided in infants and young children due to their poor nutritional profile. According to the Act Against Allergy Guidelines, the only milk alternatives recommended for the effective management of CMA are specialised hypoallergenic CMA formulas, namely eHF's and AAF's.

AAF is the only formula type recommended for all degrees of CMA severity (i.e. mild, moderate and severe). These formulas are based on amino acids, the building blocks of protein, which are considered virtually incapable of provoking an allergic reaction, while providing optimal nutrition for of the infant. Immediate usage of AAF is also recommended in infants with suspected CMA showing failure to thrive - insufficient weight and/or length gain - in order to rapidly stabilise the infant's physical development.

In cases of mild to moderate, but not severe, CMA, the Taskforce advises that an eHF may be sufficient. When milk proteins are broken down (hydrolysed) into smaller fragments - as happens in the production of eHF's - their ability to provoke an allergic reaction is reduced. However, if symptoms do not improve sufficiently on an eHF, an AAF should be considered.

The SHS / Nutricia portfolio of hypoallergenic infant formulas is the only range of products that fully covers all degrees of CMA severity (i.e. mild to moderate and severe). The portfolio also includes the only AAF that is globally available and the most extensively clinically validated.

The guidelines are similar to those promoted by the American Academy of pediatrics.

The full guideline manuscript is available at: http://adc.bmj.com/.

More information on the Act Against Allergy Taskforce is available at: http://www.media.actagainstallergy.com/.

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