Frequently Asked Questions
Safe Snack Guide
The Safe Snack Guide is intended as an aid for parents, teachers, school officials, club organizers… anyone responsible for people with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, or eggs. When there is an occasion when snacks may be brought in, distribute the Snack Guide and instruct your group to restrict their selections to those found specifically on the list.
Remember, even when snack items appear in this guide, their individual ingredient lists must always be checked to ensure that ingredients or manufacturing processes have not changed since the guide was published!
We include three dates on the cover of the Safe Snack Guide:
- “Last Updated” Date – The date the content for your copy was last updated.
- “Downloaded” Date – The date your copy was downloaded from the site.
- “Discard” Date – The date you should discard your copy and download a fresh copy.
As manufacturers often change their manufacturing processes, we include these dates to make sure you never rely on an out-of-date copy of the guide that may not include recent updates and product advisories.
The Snack Guide steers clear of products that contain the following common food allergens:
- Tree nuts
We rely on the ingredient lists for each specific product contained in the guide. These ingredient lists are collected in one of two principal ways:
- We visit supermarkets and food stores in our area (Northern New Jersey) and photograph/catalog the ingredient lists directly;
- We obtain feeds of ingredient lists from participating manufacturers.
We also rely on manufacturers’ statements as advertised on their products, in print/on the web, or in writing directly to us.
There are many products appropriate for the Safe Snack Guide that aren’t listed. It doesn’t mean they aren’t safe; it just means we may not know about them or have not been able to devote the resources to research and vet them appropriately.
We have moved to an opt-in model where manufacturers can choose to join our Manufacturer Partnership Initiative, provide us with information regarding their products via our Portal, and have all their qualifying products listed for free.
If you would like your product listed, please contact the manufacturer and ask them to join our Initiative.
Manufacturer Partnership Initiative
The SnackSafely.com Manufacturer Partnership Initiative is an outreach program designed to foster greater transparency in the disclosure of possible sources of allergen cross-contamination during the manufacture of food products. The program is intended to fill the gaps left by the FALCPA labeling regime that leave consumers with food allergies vulnerable.
SnackSafely.com has developed a platform that will allow us to engage directly with manufacturers to learn much more about how their products are produced. The Manufacturers’ Product Portal provides an easy way for manufacturers to submit their products for inclusion in the Safe Snack Guide while collecting information regarding the processing of the 8 major FALCPA allergens as well as sesame, mustard and gluten.
The Portal, currently in beta test, is a simple website where manufacturers can register, enter their product details and provide ingredient and allergen processing information using simple, standardized drop downs.
Once the data passes our editorial process and is approved, the products are added to the Safe Snack Guide.
Food Labeling in the US
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004 is an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It requires the label of a food containing an ingredient with protein from a major food allergen declare the presence of the allergen in a prescribed manner.
FALCPA took effect on January 1, 2006.
This Act was passed to make it easier for consumers to identify and avoid foods that contain major food allergens.
FALCPA identifies eight food groups as the major food allergens:
- Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
- Crustacean Shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Tree Nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Over 160 foods have been identified to cause food allergies. That said, the eight major food allergens covered by FALCPA account for over 90 percent of all documented food allergies in the US and represent foods most likely to result in severe or life-threatening reactions.
FALCPA requires food manufacturers to label food products that contain an ingredient that is or contains protein from a major food allergen in one of two ways.
The first option for food manufacturers is to include the name of the food source in parenthesis following the common name of the major food allergen in the list of ingredients in instances when the name of the food source of the major allergen does not appear elsewhere in the ingredient statement. For example:
|Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and/or cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, whey (milk), eggs, vanilla, natural and artificial flavoring) salt, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), lecithin (soy), mono-and diglycerides (emulsifier)|
The second option is to place the word “Contains” followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived, immediately after or adjacent to the list of ingredients, in type size that is no smaller than the type size used for the list of ingredients. For example:
Contains Wheat, Milk, Egg, and Soy
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