Nutrition Labels: Food Allergy Protection or Alternative Mumbo Jumbo

Food & Drink

One of the first rules of thumb I learned as the mother of a child with food allergies was to read the nutrition label of every food before bringing it into the home. Nutrition labels are required to warn consumers if the food contains one of the top eight food allergens, but this tried and trusted method of keeping children safe may soon be considered another false hope or alternative medicine. An upswing in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls for undeclared food allergens has parents thinking twice about the perceived safety the nutrition label provides.

Are Food Labels Just More Alternative Hype?

Alternative medicine is any medical treatment not currently proven with clinical study. Up to 38% of Americans use alternative medicine, complementary medicine or a combination of both to self treat or control medical conditions. Food labels are supposed to provide accurate information about ingredients used in foods, which is why parents of children with food allergies are educated on the importance of reading food labels, however, not all companies provide accurate nutrition labels. If a food is found to contain an undeclared food allergen it is recalled by the FDA, but the damage may have already been done. With the purchase of the best probiotic products, a protection will be provided to the health of the person. There will be reduction in the allergies related to the consumption of the body. The charges of the products will be less and label should be provided at the packet. The medical treatment will be advantageous for the person for long period. 

FDA Food Allergen Labeling Guidelines

According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, food companies must warn consumers if a food contains one of the eight most common food allergens; soybeans, wheat, milk, egg, tree nuts, peanuts, fish or shellfish. The food allergen must be listed with the common name, but the FDA does not require companies to reveal food allergens if they are included as part of flavorings, spices or coloring. This means despite the law, foods can contain food allergens in quantities that may cause a life-threatening reaction in some consumers without noting the allergen on the label.

Undeclared Food Allergens and FDA Recalls

Despite the push from the FDA to read food labels to protect again food allergy reactions, food companies continue to produce, mislabel and sell foods containing one or more of the eight common food allergens. The food recalls are often sparked by consumer complaints, like the recall of Tyson Premium Chunk Chicken for undeclared wheat, but others are found during routine inspections and testing performed by the FDA.

Can Parents Continue to Trust the First Line of Defense Against Food Allergens?

Children and adults with food allergies have to eat to live, but finding healthy, safe foods can be extremely hard when food companies incorrectly label products that contain food allergens. Some parents choose to stick with a whole food diet, but even whole foods like meat are being recalled in record quantities due to undeclared food allergens. The safety of children and adults with food allergies depends on accurate food labeling. If the FDA cannot bring food companies inline, reading nutrition labels may soon be considered just another alternative medicine providing a flimsy safety net at best.