Welcome back to episode 4! This is going to be part one of a two-part segment about reading labels. We’re starting off here focusing primarily on the Top-8 food allergens recognized by the FDA. In part two we will go more in-depth with foods that are outside the Top-8.

 

Main Topic(s)

  • Avoiding Food – Necessary to avoiding a Food Allergy reaction.
    • Must be able to confidently read food labels
  • Every Label Every time
    • No matter how many times you have used the product, always read it
    • Manufacturers and/or distributors can change ingredients or processes without warning!
  • Food Allergy Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA; 2004)
    • Covers the Top-8 (Milk, Egg, Peanut, Tree Nut, Soy, Wheat, Fish, and Shellfish *but not molluscan shellfish)
    • Ingredient List (Common Names)
    • “Contains” (we usually look at this first)
    • Ingredient List (Expanded or alternate names of Top-8)
  • “Other” statements are NOT mandatory & NOT regulated (e.g. “may contain”)
    • “Egg-Free” may be true for the ingredients, but not for the facility where a product is produced
    • “Other” statements cannot indicate the amount of an allergen or the risk of exposure
    • The absence of an advisory label does not mean the product is safe
    • Work with your doctor to help decide what to try and when
  • Get to know less common/alternative names for food allergens
    • FARE has a great list here
  • Contact the manufacturer(s)
    • More info on this in part two

 

Tips

  • Pay attention to food-allergy recalls
    • FARE Allergy Alerts here
    • FARE newsletter here
  • Packaging can be deceiving
  • Double-check any imported products
  • Whenever possible, have a second person look at the label
  • When in doubt…we don’t eat or try a new food

 

** It’s ok to cry in the grocery store (because you found something or because you found nothing) **

 

Shaun’s Facts

 

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John is one half of the team here at The Art of Allergies. Your typical mild-mannered IT Manager, and Full-Time Allergy Dad. He also loves all things technology. Together with Linda, John enjoys helping new and first-time allergy parents navigate through it all.

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