On September 16 the FDA will be holding hearings to talk about cross contamination labeling. It's about time!! They will be discussing a possible uniform in these labels and what wording would be most effective. They are asking for consumers to comment on whether these labels are helpful in our purchasing decisions.
Here is the FDA document about these hearings: [url="http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Elrd/fr080808.html"]http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Elrd/fr080808.html[/url]
Here is where you can submit your comments: [url="http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&o=09000064806b7555"]http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&o=09000064806b7555[/url]
If you would like to see what I wrote, I published it on my PA blog here: [url="http://www.peanutallergykid.com/2008/08/fda-need-to-hear-from-pa-parents.html"]http://www.peanutallergykid.com/2008/08/fda-need-to-hear-from-pa-parents.html[/url]
This is such a great way for our voices to be heard on a platform that really can make a difference!!
They will be accepting these comments until July 2009.
On Aug 28, 2008
Thank you so much for the head-up! I was so happy to have the opportunity to lend my voice to this important hearing. My submission is below:
As a mother of a 5-year-old peanut-allergic child, I am thrilled to see the topic of food labeling coming up for discussion in this format. I cannot stress enough how incredibly important specificity in food labeling is to families dealing with food allergies. As it stands now, I spend an exorbitant amount of time calling manufacturers from my kitchen -- midway through meal preparation -- to check and double check if their seemingly "clean" label in fact means that there is no chance for peanut protein to be present in their product, or if there is a chance, but because current law doesn't mandate labeling for cross-contamination, no "may contains" was noted. These nuances can mean the difference between a safe eating experience and a fatal allergic reaction. Many, many times, I find that customer service reps give conflicting answers, or are not equipped with the kind of details on their procedures that could have put this mother's mind at ease. I have known children to react from seemingly safe foods whose label did not indicate that child's allergen. These foods were run on shared lines, but labels were absent of any such statement. It is vital that food manufacturers be made to label not just for the known presence of a top 8 allergen, but for the POSSIBILITY of a top 8 allergen as well. Possibility, to me, means running their product on a shared line with an allergen and/or manufacturing their product in the same facility as an allergen, no matter how "careful" they think their cleaning processes are. I also need to know that no one involved in the manufacturing process could have potentially contaminated the food product via personal habits. As to current labeling standards, I like the labels that include a bold statement below the ingredients list with the allergens listed after the word "Contains:" I also very much like the labels that note "May Contain," or "Manufactured in a facility..." I would recommend that all companies include either a "May contains" OR a "No possibility of cross-cont." We need clarity. I would also like to suggest restaurants have a better protocol for dealing with food allergic customers. There are many of us out there. Many restaurants serve bread that comes from an off-site bakery, and service staff have no idea about potential allergens. I know of some restaurants that provide a spearate "Allergy Menu" with items guaranteed to not have even come in contact with a top 8 allergen. I love this idea. At present, my family rarely eats out. One needs only read the story of a 13-year-old girl who died in a mall bathroom after eating at what I believe to have been a Subway; her sandwich was one she had ordered many times before, and it did not have any peanut prodcuts in its indredients. After her death, however, it was found that the sandwich had somehow contained a large amount of peanut protein. I know from firsthand experience in these restaurants that the case housing peanut butter cookies is directly above the paper they wrap their subs in; it doesn't take much to see how easily cookie crumbs could fall inside a peanut-allergic person's food. Food allergies need to be taken more seriously. Care should be taken as if a top 8 allergen were raw ground beef or some other known potential threat to food safety.
On Aug 28, 2008
Thanks for the heads up! I submitted a comment as well. I hope good things come from the hearing!
On Aug 28, 2008
Sent my letter! I was hoping Robyn would post this info from her blog! Tommysmommy-what an excellent letter!!! Let's hope that there will be changes soon!
On Aug 28, 2008
Thank you so much for the compliment. I feel so strongly about this, I wish I could have articulated more. Robyn: Thank you for your original post. I hope everyone will consider submitting a testimony.
On Sep 29, 2008
I just wanted to let everybody know that there is still time to submit FDA comments regarding this advisory labeling issue.
This link contains some helpful info: [url="http://allergy.hyperboards.com/index.php?action=view_topic&topic_id=5869"]http://allergy.hyperboards.com/index.php?action=view_topic&topic_id=5869[/url]
For anybody dealing with a sesame allergy, please make sure to read page 3 of the above link.