Scientists have developed a blood test for peanut allergies that they say is less risky and more cost-efficient than other tests.
The skin-prick test used currently can result in people being diagnosed with an allergy when they do not have one.
And the new test could be used after inconclusive skin-prick tests instead of tests that involve eating nuts.
The Medical Research Council team says new the test could be adapted to test for other food allergies.
The current oral food challenge (OFC) involves feeding peanuts in increasingly large doses to a patient in a controlled setting in hospital to try to confirm the allergy.
However, it has a risk of causing severe allergic reactions. And the researchers say the new test is safer and more accurate.
Their study, published in theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, involved 174 children aged from six months to 17 years, 73 of whom were allergic to peanuts.
The study’s lead author, Dr Alexandra Santos, of King’s College London, said: “The current tests are not ideal.
“If we relied on them alone, we’d be over-diagnosing food allergies – only 22% of school-aged children in the UK with a positive test to peanuts are actually allergic when they’re fed the food in a monitored setting.”