Confused parents often ignore allergy warnings on labels

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A new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that parents of children affected by food allergies are often complacent about food labeling that displays allergy warnings.

The study, which included parents of 246 children with food allergies, was conducted at the Department of Allergy at the Royal Clinics of Health between August and October of 2011. The survey was administered anonymously to parents during clinic visits.

The findings were not surprising to many in public health, however, given the stringent rules requiring many foods, whether contaminated or not, bear the warnings because of potential, often microscopic contamination risks.

The study authors noted, "Precautionary labeling for food allergens, such as 'may contain traces of,' are now present on more than half of all packaged processed foods in Australian supermarkets."

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