The petition with over 12,300 signatures calls out to five legislators who previously supported the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021. It proposes three easy-to-implement changes that would make allergen labeling less ambiguous and provide much-needed transparency.
NEW YORK, NY – September 6, 2022 — Responding to lax and ambiguous labeling regulations that put Americans with food allergies at significant risk, copies of a petition proposing changes along with over 12,300 initial signatures are being delivered to key legislators.
Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) estimates 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies. For many, exposure to a mere trace of their trigger allergen can cause reactions ranging from mild symptoms like hives to full-blown anaphylaxis which can be deadly if not treated promptly with epinephrine.
Although current and pending FDA regulations specify nine top allergens that must be disclosed when they are ingredients of a food, they do nothing to address the problem of cross-contact, i.e. when allergens are inadvertently introduced during the manufacturing process. Warnings on food labels like “Manufactured on equipment that also processes peanuts” or “May contain milk” — known as Precautionary Allergen Labeling (PAL) — are entirely voluntary and not regulated by the FDA. Some manufacturers include them, some don’t, and others warn for some allergens and not for others.
They also do nothing to protect individuals with allergies to foods beyond the “Top 9”, as they allow for allergens to be hidden under broad categories such as “natural flavorings” and “spices”.
The petition — spearheaded by Dave Bloom, CEO of SnackSafely.com — calls out to five legislators who previously supported the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021. They are Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr and Rosa DeLauro, and Senators Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Ed Markey.
It proposes three easy-to-implement changes that would make allergen labeling less ambiguous and provide much-needed transparency. They are:
- Mandate the inclusion of a “Contains” statement (now voluntary);
- Mandate the inclusion of a single PAL statement with prescribed wording when top allergens are processed in the facility;
- Mandate the disclosure of all ingredients individually.
Descriptions and examples for each of the proposed changes are included in the petition which can be found at https://www.change.org/Strengthen-the-FLMA. Lawmakers are urged to include these changes in future legislation.
US consumers interested in supporting the petition are urged to sign on here. SnackSafely.com pledges to deliver copies of the petition along with additional signatures to each of the legislators as milestones are achieved.
SnackSafely.com provides straightforward, actionable information to improve the lives of the estimated 34 million Americans coping with food allergies and celiac disease. We strive to eliminate accidental exposure by leveraging our online properties to educate, advocate, and connect the allergic community with products and services that help toward achieving this goal.
SnackSafely.com employs a proprietary platform designed to foster greater transparency in food manufacturing with regard to allergens. Manufacturers join the SnackSafely.com Manufacturer Partnership at no cost by agreeing to disclose how each of 11 allergens is processed during the manufacture of each product, and in return receive free listings in our family of Safe Snack Guides and Allergence, our allergen product screening service.
The program provides a means for free-from and traditional manufacturers to engage with the allergic community by providing additional disclosures not required by the FDA.