As many as 30 percent of respondents with school age children say they know someone who has had a severe reaction to peanuts, Collins says, and more than half of those who say they have someone in the household with peanut allergy don’t have epinephrine, the life-saving medication for those who actually do have a reaction to peanuts.

“While we’re working to offset all misconceptions about peanut allergies,” she says, “we’re increasing our efforts in three specific areas: case files, media, and consumers. We have an expanded school outreach program; in addition to working with school nurses and dietitians, we’re also trying to reach superintendents, school board members, and decision-makers at the top who can help us to offset these misconceptions.”

To help with this, Collins says, the peanut organization has a Patient Advisory Committee, which includes food allergy expects, researchers, National Restaurant Association food allergy specialists, and attorneys that specialize in school law.

“A new website, peanutallergy.com, will be a great resource for schools, families, health professionals, and consumers, to help dispel the myths related to peanut allergies. It emphasizes the message that ‘America’s peanut farmers care,’ and they are the ones funding this resource.

“We also monitor the media for common allergy misinformation. Every day, we address errors that appear in the media.”

“We have challenges, of course,” Collins says, “but there is a lot of opportunity for peanuts, and with the work of the National Peanut Board, we are more and more going to see consumer minds being changed.”