Approval of peanut allergy treatment in the US.

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The Food and Drug Administration in the US has approved immunotherapy as a treatment to mitigate the risk of allergic reactions that may occur, including anaphylaxis, after accidental exposure to peanut in patients aged 4 to 17 years with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy.

To see the press release issued by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology click here

IFAN would love to see this decision replicated by the relevant authorities in Ireland.

EAACI 2020 comes to London

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The EAACI Congress 2020 will take place from June 6th to 10th 2020, in London, United Kingdom.

Organised by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the largest medical association in its field in Europe, the EAACI Congress 2020 offers a unique opportunity to learn about the latest discoveries. The congress activities will be articulated around the theme of: Bridging innovations into allergy and asthma prevention.

Attending EAACI Congress 2020 is a great opportunity to be part of the modern allergology paradigm shift driven by new discoveries: endotype and theratype approaches that change not only the taxonomy but the way we perceive and manage the allergic disease. The interactive sessions and discussions designed to match the expectations of all participants will provide a platform to stimulate the creativity of thousands of delegates, and the high-throughput screening of viable solutions.

School hit with €3.5 thousand penalty for discrimination due to nut allergy

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IFAN welcomes the judgement of November 11th 2019 by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) that a pupil with food allergies was discriminated against by a school’s failure to provide reasonable accommodations to attend a school trip and that other options were not explored to assist travel and partake in an exchange programme.

This is the second such case in recent years in Ireland where a school’s independent approach to a food allergic child’s safety has been found to be unreasonable and has led to a large fine.

IFAN has been attempting for more that 3 years to engage with the Department of Education and Skills to develop a standardized national policy for the supervision of food allergic children in schools. IFAN was  formally told that a child’s health in school is the responsibility of the Dept of Health, who then told IFAN to talk to the Department of Education.

It is clear that school boards are mis-informed about the overall risk in school and on trips out of school and have developed ad hoc policies that are being successfully challenged, with great distress caused to families and at great cost to the school.  Parents must not make unreasonable demands either; there is always a middle ground to be found.

The suggestion that food allergic children have a disability is unfortunate, as nearly all of them are completely healthy, fit and active in all other ways. Grouping them with children with significant impairments of their daily lives probably does both groups of children a disservice.

IFAN would like to see a proper dialogue about school policies and would encourage its members and associates to get involved by asking local and national representatives to lobby for a meeting of the interested parties.

The full pdf of the WRC 2019 judgement is available to view here.

The full pdf of the WRC 2016 judgement is available to view here.

Adrenaline training.

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The Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council are responsible under law for approving and accrediting providers of training courses in Ireland for emergency cardiac first response (CFR) including giving adrenaline (Epinephrine).

If you are in need of training please visit this link which will bring you to the PHECC website.

In the second search box “Course Name Equals”, choose CFR-Epinephrine from the drop down list and you will see a list of approved institutions that you can contact.

Travel Bursary

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A limited number of travel grants are now being offered by IFAN to members presenting original work, relevant to the field of Food Allergy at an International meeting.

To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must be:

  • The first author of an abstract (in the field of food allergy) accepted to an international meeting.
  • A member of IFAN.

How to apply?

Applicants should provide the following information by email only:

  • Applicant covering letter
    •1 page CV
    •A copy of the accepted abstract
    •A supporting letter from your head of department

Please submit your application by email only to:


Those who are awarded a travel grant will receive travel and subsistence costs refunded up to €500 on submission of original receipts. Reimbursement will be made as soon as possible within two months after the meeting.

Please note that a travel grant does not include the registration fee or accommodation costs.

Peanut immunotherapy trial results: desensitisation in peanut allergic children

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A trial of oral immunotherapy in children and adolescents highly allergic to peanut, treated with AR101 resulted in higher doses of peanut protein that could be ingested without dose-limiting symptoms according to research published yesterday.

To see the RTE news clip featuring an Irish participant and commentary from Professor Hourihane, Paediatric Allergist at Cork University Hospital and Principal Investigator at the INFANT Centre at University College Cork, who led the Irish leg of the trial click on the Twitter link below or here

This is very positive news for children and families affected by peanut allergy and has generated huge interest in the prospect of a “cure” for peanut allergy.

Prof. Hourihane is very keen to clarify that this study is not about curing peanut allergy and wishes to advise that only children, not adults, can be recruited.  At present there are no studies open.  If/when there are, only children that have been fully evaluated in the existing paediatric clinical services at Cork University Hospital are eligible to be considered for inclusion and that the only route to accessing existing clinical services at Cork University Hospital is through routine referral via GP’s.




Advisory notice: Emerade Adrenaline Autoinjector devices.

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The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) wishes to inform users and healthcare professionals of the following potential quality defect for the Emerade range of treatments

  • There is a possibility that a small percentage (0.015%) of Emerade pens on the Irish market may not deliver a dose of adrenaline.
  • This is due to the potential for a blocked syringe needle to be in place.
  • A blocked needle has been identified by the manufacturer in one Emerade syringe during standard product stability testing.
  • While no confirmed reports of a blocked needle have been received from the marketplace for Emerade to date, there is the potential for units on the market to have a blocked needle, and this could lead to an Emerade auto-injector not firing.
  • The risk presented by this defect can be reduced by the patient always carrying two pens as described in the approved patient information for Emerade.

Please see the HPRA website for further details.

NEW! Living with Food Allergy in plain English for parents and carers, available free and online.

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IFAN is delighted to publish a 24 page practical, user friendly, plain English guide for parents and carers: Living with Food Allergy. Written with extensive parental input,you’ll find information about the different types of food allergy. It also tells you what to expect when a child is diagnosed with a food allergy, how to explain to children and others about food allergy, how to cope with food shopping, childcare, school, after-school activities and travel.  The content has been reviewed and approved by NALA.

There has been a substantial cost involved in the design and print of this guide which would not have been possible without unrestricted educational support received from IFAN’s sponsors. We appreciate your consideration of the costs incurred by downloading, printing and disseminating this guide responsibly.

IFAN’s “Egg ladder” has been updated

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IFAN has been using the “egg ladder” for over 7 years to help promote tolerance in certain individuals.  It has recently been revisited and updated in accordance with feedback received and the latest evidence base. There are no major content changes but there are changes to the following:

  • 3 main steps to the ladder have been defined
  • the ladder “rungs” within each step have become more defined
  • clear guidance is given for those who cannot or will not consume any of the foods listed.

You can see the revised ladder here

Exploitation of allergy in “Peter Rabbit” movie.

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IFAN welcomes Sony Pictures apology for their insensitive disregard for severe allergic reactions. A scene in the film depicts a human character named Tom McGregor with an allergy to blackberries. In a quest to gain access to his garden, rabbits pelt him with fruits and vegetables before using a slingshot to send a blackberry flying into his mouth. It works. Mr. McGregor struggles to inject himself with adrenaline and then has anaphylaxis and collapses-the rabbits cheer.

A section from the apology reads “Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way……We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize”.

If you or your child has been excluded, stigmatised or bullied on the basis of allergy please share your experience with us at

IFAN is trying to advocate on behalf of all those affected by food allergy in Ireland. Our aim is to promote inclusion and a balanced factual understanding about different types of food allergy.