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Where LEAP Left Off, SEED Picks Up

This clinical research study is one to keep an eye on.

In late 2020, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) announced SEED, or the Start Eating Early Diet study.

Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH (professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine—clinical attending at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago—Director, The Center for Food Allergy & Asthma Research {CFAAR}) is SEED’s principal investigator. As per Dr. Gupta, the unique thing about SEED is its multi-prong approach to food allergy prevention.

The hope is that findings will:

  • Help prevent development of food allergies to 7 highly allergenic foods in young children.

  • Guide development of family and provider education programs for early introduction of allergenic foods.

  • Fuel advocacy initiatives to expand access to the allergenic foods investigated in the SEED study through federally funded food programs.

Specifically, the study is exploring whether early introduction of — peanut, egg, milk, cashew, soy, almond, and sesame — to infants (age 4-7 months) from diverse backgrounds can reduce their risk for developing allergies to these foods.

SEED builds on the body of data collected and analyzed during the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP, 2015), and Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT, 2016) studies. As summarized by FARE, “the LEAP study found that for infants whose eczema and/or egg allergy put them at elevated risk for peanut allergy, introducing peanut foods early and often reduced their likelihood of developing peanut allergy by more than 80 percent.” Following the publication of the LEAP study, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) revised food introduction guidelines to encourage early introduction of peanut foods for infants at greater risk for peanut allergy.

In addition to studying whether introducing more allergenic foods earlier in infants' development will prevent the onset of allergies to those foods, SEED will assess attitudes, barriers, and needs related to introducing allergenic foods across study participants.

To achieve stated goals, the study recruitment plan was the following:


  • Enroll a racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of infants.

  • Provide age-appropriate foods and recipes to infant caregivers to ensure that cost and access do not limit participation.

  • Give particular attention to enrolling high-risk infants with eczema in sufficient numbers to precisely evaluate the effectiveness of systematic feeding of multiple allergenic foods for allergy prevention, in addition to enrolling babies at average risk of food allergy.

The CFAAR and FARE websites provide contacts if you are interested in finding out more.


SEED is a collaborative effort between FARE, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Children's Hospital Colorado, Massachusetts General Hospital, and University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Ruchi Gupta is the principal the investigator for the SEED study. In addition to her roles at Northwestern, Lurie Children’s, and CFAAR, Dr. Gupta serves as FARE’s chief medical advisor for public health.


Allergy Force seeks to keep the food allergy community updated on research initiatives that have potential — now and in the future — to help them live fully with less fear, less anxiety and more confidence.

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Image Credit: Thanks to Sharon McCutcheon on Unplash for use of the image

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