According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), over 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies comprising 8% of all children and 11% of adults. And make no mistake about it: a mere trace of an allergen consumed by an allergic individual can result in a severe, sometimes life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Unfortunately, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is failing when it comes to protecting American food allergy sufferers from allergens that could cause them serious harm. Where the FDA mandates certain ingredient disclosures on the label, they confuse matters by allowing multiple ways of doing so. Where the FDA has abrogated their responsibility entirely, manufacturers have stepped in with a hodgepodge of advisory warnings that confuse allergic consumers and give them a false sense of security their food products are free of their allergens of concern.
In working with hundreds of food manufacturers since we established SnackSafely.com in 2011, we’ve learned that much of what goes on behind the scenes in food manufacturing is not disclosed on the label.
Looking back with the benefit of that experience, we’ve come up with four relatively easy-to-implement changes that would strengthen allergen labeling regulations and make shopping for consumer packaged goods easier, safer, and far less confusing for the allergic community.