HomeFood Allergy AdvocacyFour Changes the FDA Must Adopt to Make Ingredient Labeling Safer for...

Four Changes the FDA Must Adopt to Make Ingredient Labeling Safer for the Allergic Community


4 – Extend the recognized “Top” allergens based on updated, continually monitored criteria

The Top 8 allergens defined by FALCPA constituted the foods that 90% of the allergic community were allergic to in 2004. The incidence of food allergy has since skyrocketed and allergies to many more foods have become prevalent since.

Other countries have much broader lists of top allergens that must be disclosed separately. For example, the European Union identifies 14 top allergens including sesame, mustard, lupin, mollusks, and sulfur dioxide/sulfites not required under US labeling regulations.

As proposed in the FASTER Act — legislation sponsored by FARE currently making its way through the legislative process — the FDA should be given the authority to extend the FALCPA Top 8 based on continually updated criteria. That criteria should extend the requirement to cover a higher percentage of allergens beyond the 90% threshold and be updated on a periodic basis.

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The changes outlined above would eliminate much of the ambiguity that plagues the allergic community today. The majority of those with food allergies would be able to look at the Contains and Top Allergens Processed statements and determine whether the product is appropriate for their consumption. Those allergic to less common foods would be able to rely on the ingredient list without having to worry about whether their allergen of concern is hidden under a category such as “spices”.

The changes would also be a boon to people with food sensitivities and those that follow other restrictive diets by disclosing a much broader array of ingredients.

Have ideas for changes you would like to see? Sound off below in the comments section. We hope to collect the best submissions and publish them in an open letter to the FDA.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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  1. How about including “Gluten” in the list? I have celiac disease, and while it is not an allergy, consumption of gluten causes me to be sick, miss several days to a week of work, and not recover completely for at least a few weeks. Damage also occurs to my small intestine. It is not only wheat that does this — rye, triticale, etc., and flavorings, colorings, and other substances added to food, seasonings, dressings, etc., needs to be disclosed.


  2. What is the FDA doing for the community of people that have Alpha Gal? There is mammalian byproducts in so many things. It is hidden ingredients and the food companies don’t have to put anything in the label. If I were to eat a bag is salted peanuts, I would be in the hospital, right after I used my EpiPen, because the soultion the nuts are put in to keep the salt attached has mammalian byproducts in it. The same goes for McDonald’s french fries.

    I believe we the consumer have the right to know everything that goes into our food.


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