The North Carolina researcher, Mohamed Ahmedna, announced last month he has developed a patented process to create allergen-free peanuts. The process would open up new markets for processors and reduce the risk of recall. However repeated queries to the press contact listed have failed to get a response. Other news journals have also reported being unable to verify the claim. Ahmedna claims his new process is a first for food science and could provide relief to millions of peanut allergy sufferers. He claims the process does not degrade the taste or quality of treated peanuts, and might even render them easier to process for use as a food ingredient. Immunoassays by the researched showed total inactivation of peanut allergens in whole roasted kernels, and the processed peanuts. The immunoassays showed no reaction in tests on human serums from severely allergic individuals, he claimed. Ahmedna is now working on make the process more efficient in a bit to further remove allergens from other foods. "We are extremely pleased that we were able to find such a simple solution to a vexing problem that has enormous economic and public health ramifications, both for peanut sensitive individuals, and the food industry as a whole," said Ahmedna. Peanut and tree nuts can cause the most severe food allergies and affects about three million US residents a year and cause up to 150 deaths. In industrialised countries allergies have been rapidly increasing in children, for causes that are not entirely understood. One study showed that between 1997 and 2002, peanut allergies in children doubled in the United States, Ahmedna sated. An estimated one percent of all children suffer from the allergy. Ahmedna's work on peanuts was funded through a United States Agency for International Development grant. During the course of the project, he also developed a process to remove a common mold toxin from peanuts, a low-fat, high protein meat substitute, an infant formula, and antioxidants from red peanut skins. The allergy-free peanut is the first in a portfolio of peanut innovations to be available for commercialisation from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.