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As the start of the school year approaches, we receive many inquiries about the Safe Snack Guide from parents, teachers, school nurses and PTA organizations as they search for solutions to help implement nut-free classroom policies.

Here follows a collection of the most frequently asked questions complete with answers.

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reeses-oreoOn June 9, a limited edition Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Oreo is scheduled to hit the shelves of a store near you. Many of you contacted us with concerns about how (and where) these cookies are made, especially as they relate to the varieties of Oreos that are listed in the Safe Snack Guide.

As Mondelēz is not (yet) a member of our Manufacturer Partnership Program, we went through their traditional consumer channel and were greeted with the standard “Check the label – we label for possible peanut/tree nut cross contamination.” Once we explained that represents tens of thousands of consumers with food allergies, our request for more information was escalated through internal channels.

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Pretzel!Please note that we have removed a number of products from the Safe Snack Guide:

  • Shoprite ABC Cookie Squares – removed due to changes in manufacture/labeling/disclosure.
  • Righteously Raw Products – removed due to change in disclosure: manufactured on lines where coconut is also processed.

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Manufacturers Join in Drive for Greater Transparency in Food Allergen Disclosures

Tootsie Roll Industries, Enjoy Life Foods among 20 manufacturers to join program’s launch

New York, NY (PRWEB) February 11, 2014

PR QuoteThe publisher of the Safe Snack Guide, a snack list used by thousands of schools, camps, youth sports leagues, and scouting groups nationwide to help implement nut-free policies, is now working directly with food manufacturers to provide greater transparency regarding the potential for allergens in their products.

Manufacturers participating in the program access a proprietary portal to submit information about their products, including processing information for 11 allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish (the “top 8”) as well as sesame, mustard, and gluten.

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2nd Anniversary!

As we head into Autumn and the leaves begin to fall, we at are celebrating a pair of wonderful milestones that you, our readers, have made possible.

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FDA Logo

Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new labeling standards for foods claiming to be “Gluten-Free”.  The standards are intended to help protect the estimated 3 million sufferers of celiac disease, a serious auto-immune disorder triggered by ingestion of the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

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Understand Limitations

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Manufacturer Partnership Initiative Badge

You pick up a box of cookies and look at the ingredient listing to see if it’s safe for your child with food allergies… let’s say peanuts. The label doesn’t mention ‘peanuts’ as an ingredient, so the next thing you do is check to see if there is a warning statement, like “manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts“. There isn’t one, so it must be safe, right? Maybe… maybe not.

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The White HouseAs you may know, only eight major food ingredients are covered under FALCPA, the act of congress that establishes rules for the disclosure of allergens on a product’s label. FALCPA has many deficiencies, among them the small number of allergens it covers.

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Product LabelDo you have food allergies or are you responsible for someone who does? You may think you’re a pro at reading food labels, but here are five things you should know about US food labeling requirements:

  1. Current labeling requirements regarding food allergies are dictated by an act of Congress known as FALCPA which became effective January 1, 2006.
  2. FALCPA mandates that manufacturers highlight the presence of eight major food allergens as ingredients in their products:
    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
    • Crustacean Shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
    • Tree Nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
    • Peanuts
    • Wheat
    • Soybeans
  3. Other than these major allergens, manufacturers have no responsibility to highlight the presence of other potential allergens. If you are concerned about allergies to other food items (e.g. sesame seeds or strawberries) you must scrutinize the individual ingredients on the label. Even this may not be enough as your allergen may be disguised as “natural flavoring” or “spices”, so call the manufacturer.
  4. The presence of a major food allergen as an ingredient must be disclosed in one of two ways:
    1. The name of the food source of a major food allergen must appear in parentheses following the name of the ingredient.

      Examples: “lecithin (soy),” “flour (wheat),” and “whey (milk)”

    2. Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a “contains” statement.

      Example: “Contains Wheat, Milk, and Soy.

  5. Contrary to popular belief, manufacturers are not required to disclose potential allergens that may be introduced as part of the manufacturing process. All disclosures such as “Made in a factory that also processes peanuts” are entirely voluntary. There are no standards for the wording of these disclosures or guidelines for when they should be used, so consider them (or their absence) with caution.

Source: Food Allergen Labeling And Consumer Protection Act of 2004 Questions and Answers

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