This report describes the further development of a peanut allergy model in Brown Norway (BN) rats and in particular the importance of allergen-free breeding of the laboratory animals for the allergen to be used. For this purpose BN rats were bred for 3 generations on soy- and peanut-free feed since it is known that the legumes peanut and soy are cross-reactive. In addition, the effect of cholera toxin (CT), an oral adjuvant often used to increase the sensitivity of food allergy models, was investigated in the BN rat model. BN rats that were bred on both soy- and peanut-free feed could be sensitized orally to peanut (all exposed rats developed peanut-specific IgE, IgG2a and IgG1) and the adjuvant CT could only enhance this sensitization to a limited extent. We also found different protein recognition patterns against purified peanut allergens (Ara h1, Ara h2 and Ara h3) between intraperitoneally (i.p.) and orally sensitized BN rats. Orally sensitized rats recognized all tested allergens whereas i.p. sensitized rats only recognized Ara h1 and Ara h2. Our conclusion is that a model for food allergy should preferably be (A) oral and (B) if possible without the use of adjuvantia. Our model in BN rats unites these preferred characteristics. In addition, we show the importance of dietary control when conducting oral sensitization studies. Special attention must be paid to unscheduled dietary pre-exposure of the animals to the protein under investigation to obtain optimal oral sensitization. AD - University Maastricht, Department of Health Risk Analysis and Toxicology, Universiteitssingel 50, Postbus 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands; National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Laboratory for Toxicology, Pathology and Genetics, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.