Australian scientists develop mung bean alternative to peanut butter

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MELBOURNE, Aug. 24 (PNA/Xinhua) — Australian scientists have developed a mung bean alternative to peanut butter for people allergic to the popular spread.

The product, developed by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC), could be offered on the menu at schools, hospitals and on airplanes where traditional peanut butter is banned due to the high rate of peanut allergies.

Ken Quail, general manager of AEGIC which is headquartered in Perth, said the new mung bean spread could give companies peace of mind over allergies.

“It eliminates risk in a whole lot of ways,” Quail told the ABC on Wednesday. “Airlines can serve it to anybody, it takes out that enormous risk they face in serving any products with peanuts.

“What they do now is totally avoid them, and this could totally overcome that.

“I think the really interesting example (is) of the airlines and hospitals where they are serving meals with sat satay sauce, they can have it made without peanuts.”

Quail admitted that while the flavor of the mung bean paste was not a perfect reproduction of that of peanut butter it is a healthier option with mung beans being a good source of protein.

“Both in color, texture and taste, it’s very similar,” he said. “Some people who don’t know what they’re trying can’t pick it from peanut butter.”

The discovery by the Perth-based scientists came in the wake of allergy experts at the 2016 International Conference of Immunology (ICI) in Melbourne declared Australia as the allergy capital of the world.

Maria Said, president of Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia, said she welcomed the introduction of the mung bean paste but that replacing all foods that produce allergic reactions with alternatives was not sustainable.

“I think it’s great that we have companies thinking outside the square and providing food for people with special dietary needs, especially people with anaphylaxis,” Said told the ABC.

“But I think we need to be realistic about removal of other healthy nutritious foods from the marketplace and replacing them simply because of allergy.”

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