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U.S. peanut industry donates 30,000 jars of peanut butter to Capital Area Food Bank

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. peanut industry donated more than 30,000 jars of peanut butter to Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. on National Ag Day, March 21, 2017. The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest organization in the Washington metro area working to solve hunger and its companion problems: chronic under nutrition, heart disease, and obesity. The donation was made possible by the partners of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, which includes Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.

“We have found that peanut butter is one of the most requested items by food banks nationwide”, says Caleb Bristow, Alabama Peanut Producers Association executive director and Southern Peanut Farmers Federation member. “Not only is it a high-quality product, but it is full of nutrition and tastes great. On behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmer’s Federation, representing peanut farmers all across the Southeast, we are excited and proud to have this opportunity to provide this donation to the Capital Area Food Bank.”

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., representative of Georgia’s second congressional district, joined the Federation members during the donation.

“I am honored to serve the top peanut producing congressional district in the country. Peanuts are a vital product of Middle and Southwest Georgia, and a key ingredient for an assortment of delicious and nutritious food products,” Congressman Bishop says. “I applaud the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation for their donation of 30,000+ jars of Peanut Proud peanut butter to the Capital Area Food Bank. This kind and generous donation will aid the Food Bank in their efforts to feed and provide for the surrounding community.”

By partnering with 444 community organizations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, as well as delivering food directly into hard to reach areas, the CAFB is helping 540,000 people each year get access to good, healthy food.

“There is a tremendous need for good nutrition across the US and we are happy to partner with other segments of the peanut industry to provide some relief,” says Ken Barton, executive director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association and Southern Peanut Farmers Federation member.”

Donations from organizations such as the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation are essential to the food

bank’s operations, and allow the Capital Area Food Bank to distribute 46 million pounds of food to its

network of partner nonprofits each year.

“Peanut butter is one of the hardest items to keep on our shelves because it’s protein-packed, kid-friendly, and in high demand from our partners,” said Jody Tick, chief operating officer at the food bank. “We’re thrilled for this donation, and 30,000 jars of peanut butter will go a long way towards helping children and families in our area get the food they need to live well”.

The donation was also made in celebration of National Peanut Month in March and National Ag Day. One serving of peanuts is a good source of protein, vitamin E, niacin, folate, phosphorus and magnesium. Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.

Preventing Peanut Allergies: The Full Scoop on New Guidelines

Peanuts and peanut butter are back on the menu for infants, according to new guidelines urging parents to introduce peanut products to their children starting around 4-6 months of age. Released January 5, the National Institute of Health’s new recommendations are based on research that found early and regular exposure to peanut products resulted in the prevention of peanut allergies in a large number of infants.

The guidelines explain how to introduce the products depending on the child’s risk level of developing an allergy:

  • Low risk children: Those without eczema or food allergies can be freely introduced to peanut containing foods at home around 4-6 months.
  • Medium risk children: Those with mild to moderate eczema should be introduced to peanut foods around 6 months either at home or under the supervision of a healthcare provider, depending on family and cultural preferences.
  • High risk children: Those with severe eczema or egg allergy or both are considered high risk. They should first be evaluated with a blood test or skin prick test as early as 4-6 months before being introduced to peanut products under supervision by a healthcare provider.

In addition, the report noted children should first be introduced to other solid foods before trying peanut products. Whole nuts should not be given to children under 5 years of age. Peanut butter directly from a spoon or in lumps/dollops should not be given to children less than 4 years of age. Instead, parents can dilute peanut butter or peanut flour, mix it with a fruit or vegetable puree or feed their children peanut puff products.

Coverage of the new guidelines is widespread, with many experts offering their support of the guidelines:

  • According to an ABC News report, the recommendations are based on landmark research that found early exposure is far more likely to protect babies from developing peanut allergies than to harm them. The guidelines spell out exactly how to introduce infants to age-appropriate peanut products depending on whether they’re at high, moderate or low risk of becoming allergic as they grow.
  • “Many, many people were asking their doctors, their pediatricians, ‘We’ve heard about this wonderful information; what should we do?’” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN. “The professional societies — such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, etc. — all decided they needed to get together and sit down in a few meetings and put together some guidelines.”
  • “This update to the peanut guidelines offers a lot of promise,” allergist Dr. Stephen Tilles, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), said in a statement to CBS News. “Peanut allergy has literally become an epidemic in recent years, and now we have a clear roadmap to prevent many new cases moving forward.”
  • For years, pediatricians advised avoiding peanuts until age 3 for children thought to be at risk. But the delay didn’t help, and that recommendation was dropped in 2008, although parent wariness of peanuts persists, according to theAssociated Press. Dr. Scott Sicherer, who represented the American Academy of Pediatrics on the guidelines panel, says “it’s old news, wrong old news, to wait.”
  • The recommendations provide guidance about how to safely introduce young children to peanuts from an early age, depending on their risk level of developing an allergy. An article in TIME magazine states the hope is that by introducing peanuts early enough to children who might be allergic to them, doctors may be able to prevent them from ever developing a full-fledged allergy. While it’s not entirely clear how that happens, some kind of tolerance is likely involved.
  • Allergic Living reports in the LEAP study, early consumption of peanut reduced the risk of developing peanut allergy by 86 percent for children with negative skin prick tests and by 70 percent for those who were mildly sensitized infants.
  • The Washington Post reminds parents that a child’s pediatrician should go over the signs of an allergic reaction, but including things like a hivelike rash, vomiting, coughing, wheezing or a child otherwise looking lethargic or ill.
  • “This won’t outright prevent every single case of peanut allergy – there will still be some cases – but the number could be significantly reduced by tens of thousands,” Dr. Greenhawt, chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s food allergy committee told The New York Times. “In the best case scenario, every allergist across the U.S. could be seeing fewer cases of peanut allergy – and that’s a good problem to have.”

Want to learn more? Check out MashableRomperTodayU.S. NewsUSA Today, and Vox for even more details.

Florida Peanut Farmers Begin Peanut Leadership Academy Class X

Twenty-three peanut growers and sheller representatives from across the Southeast, Texas and the Virginia-Carolina area began Class X of the Peanut Leadership Academy Dec. 12-14, 2016, in Miramar Beach, Florida. The Peanut Leadership Academy is hosted by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and is a cooperative effort between Syngenta Crop Protection, the American Peanut Shellers Association and grower organizations. The program began in 1998 with the first class of 14 peanut growers from Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Since then, the academy has continued to grow to include growers from Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and sheller representatives.

Activities in the leadership program are structured to give participants a thorough understanding of the U.S. peanut industry. Throughout the course of 18 months and five sessions, program attendees participate in sessions ranging from field trips, meetings with industry leaders and professional development training, as well as one session in Washington, D.C., where class members have an opportunity to visit with members of Congress about issues affecting the peanut industry. During this time, class members build on leadership skills, discuss and debate key industry issues and build relationships.

During the first session of the program, leadership academy attendees were introduced, presented an overview of the peanut industry and able to attend the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation annual meeting where they had the opportunity to listen to grower and industry reports. Participating Florida growers in Class X include: Blaire Colvin, Citra; and Ryan Jenkins, Pace.

For more information on the Peanut Leadership Academy please contact the Florida Peanut Producers Association or visit www.southernpeanutfarmers.org