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WARNING: Children’s Advil Contains Milk. Why Doesn’t GSK Disclose That on the Package?

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After hearing a rumor, a reader reached out to us concerned that Children’s Advil Blue Raspberry Suspension contains milk. She engaged with consumer relations at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) — marketers of Advil — who in turn confirmed the product does indeed contain milk, although that fact is not discernable from the label or online information the company provides for the product.

We contacted GSK via email to confirm and received the following response :

REF-CASE: 02373830

Dear Dave Bloom,

Thank you for your email message regarding Advil children .

Children’s Advil Suspension Blue Raspberry does contain milk. This product does not contain eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, wheat, soybeans, and/or sulfites.

We recognize our consumers to be a very valuable asset and appreciate your taking the time to contact us.

If we may be of future assistance, please call us at 1-800-245-1040, weekdays between 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. EST.

Yours sincerely,

Ayrin
GSK Consumer Relations Healthcare
184 Liberty Corner Road, Warren, NJ, 07059, United States

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But that begs the question: Isn’t GSK required to disclose milk as an ingredient because milk is one of the “Top 8” allergens designated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?

The answer is a resounding “No”. The labeling of major food allergens required under the Food Allergen Labeling And Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) pertains only to packaged foods, not over-the-counter drugs.

That said, in the interest of preventing serious reactions and anaphylaxis, the company should disclose this information on the package even if they aren’t required to do so. The safety of their allergic consumers warrants the inclusion of the same basic allergen disclosures required on candy bars and chips.

Note: we have no idea how many other GSK products might contain a top allergen. Before using their products, we suggest you contact their consumer relations department at the number above if you suffer from a food allergy or intolerance.
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We call on GlaxoSmithKline and other marketers of over-the-counter drugs to voluntarily follow FALCPA labeling guidelines and disclose the presence of major allergens on the package label and inserts intended for consumers and healthcare providers.

Furthermore, we call on the FDA to extend FALCPA labeling regulations to include all over-the-counter drugs sold in the United States.

An estimated 32 million Americans, 5.9 million of which are children, suffer from food allergies. They need to be protected from serious reactions that can be caused by the very drugs they are using to treat other health issues. The status quo is simply unacceptable.

When a Manufacturer Says ‘Trust Us’ Regarding Allergens

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

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