Love note from the FDA

Millions of Americans have food allergies and may experience adverse reactions to products that contain food allergens. Eight foods have been identified as major food allergens, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aware of other food allergens, such as sesame. Most allergic reactions cause mild symptoms, but some are severe and may even be life-threatening. The FDA uses its authorities to help protect those with food allergies and is implementing initiatives to build on the agency’s important work. Our goals are to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions, to enforce regulations that require the industry to properly label food allergens, and to significantly minimize or prevent the presence of undeclared major food allergens in food.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act has been in place for many years and greatly improved the FDA’s ability to inform consumers about the presence of major food allergens in food. Under this law, packaged foods must identify the source of all major allergens used to make the food. The Act identified the following eight allergens as major: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. The allergen’s food source must be declared on the food label in one of two ways—in parentheses following the name of the ingredient, such as flour (wheat), or immediately next to the list of ingredients in a statement that says “Contains wheat, milk, and soy.” This requirement is met if the common or usual name of an ingredient already identifies that allergen’s food source name (for example, buttermilk).

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