From a food safety perspective, the preventative strategies in place for people with potentially fatal allergies to peanuts and other nuts relate to the labelling of products. The European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2000 (S.I. 92 of 2000) oblige food manufacturers and packagers to label pre-packaged food informatively. These regulations fall under the aegis of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Currently, this requirement obliges manufacturers to declare peanuts or other allergens on labels when the allergens constitute more than 25% of the finished product. There is at present no requirement on manufacturers to declare on labels where peanuts or other allergens constitute less than 25% of the finished product. This 25% rule is currently being revised at EU level. In the White Paper on Food Safety, the European Commission has announced that it intends to propose a new amendment to the labelling directive. The proposal is to abolish the 25% limit or to reduce it to 5%.
There are no data available on deaths attributed to allergies involving peanuts. The data available from the hospital in-patient inquiry scheme for 1995-98 shows that 41 patients were admitted as in-patients having been diagnosed as suffering from anaphylactic shock as a result of ingesting peanuts.