Finally there will be no more need for the warning on packaging that indicates that the product 'May Contain Nuts' as scientists at Lancaster University have isolated the allergen that causes the allergy [as opposed an allergen that doesn't? - ED].
"We have discovered that peanuts produce a chemical called tripto-cyanamid di-methylate," said Ian Dependence, genetic researcher at Lancaster University's plant biology department. "It is this molecule that causes some people's overzealous immune reaction resulting in constricted airways and - if untreated - death."
The researchers have isolated the gene responsible for the production of this molecule and used genetic engineering to remove the allergen.
"We are also trying more traditional methods of breeding the molecule out of peanuts," said Dependence. "As current European law means that any genetically modified material cannot be eaten by people, even if it would save their life."
The peanut allergy is so severe that exposure to peanut dust in the enclosed environs of an passenger plane has scared people enough to have them banned.
"They could be more deadly than a bomb," explained Daily Mail journalist John Scaremonger. "I'm surprised a terrorist hasn't sneaked a packet of peanuts onto a plane and threatened to open them if his demands aren't met. Did you know there are no safeguards in place to check for peanuts? It's a travesty."
Should Dependence and his team manage to use traditional breeding methods to remove the allergen from this deadly, toxic nut, then this will no longer be a worry.
"We don't actually know how the allergen free peanuts taste," said Dependence. "We're hoping that removing the allergen doesn't also remove the flavour! Unfortunately, the university won't let me or one of my researchers eat any of the new peanuts. They're driving me nuts!"
It isn't the only issue Dependence has had with his university.
"The only way they would fund my research was if I put a sign on the door that said 'Warning, may contain nuts'," he lamented. "You can imagine the kind of jokes aimed in my direction in the staff room."