Understanding Food Labels: Requirements For Foods That Trigger Allergic Responses

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to list any of the eight most common foods that trigger allergic responses. It must be written in simple terms that adults and older children will understand.

What must be listed?

The eight foods are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. These foods are responsible for 90 percent of allergy outbreaks.

Understanding the food labels

Not all foods must be labeled. Fresh vegetables, meats, and some highly refined oils do not need to be labeled. Any packaged food manufactured domestically or imported is required to have a label. The label is required whether or not one of the eight trigger foods is included in the package.

The label must list the specific type of allergen (walnut as a type of tree nut, for instance) as well as any ingredient that contains a protein originating from one of the eight major food triggers (whey which comes from milk, for instance). The labels must also list any flavoring, coloring or additive that contains a protein from the eight offenders.

Unintended ingredients

Cross-contamination is a serious problem for people with very sensitive food allergies. While food labeling laws require allergens to be identified even in small amounts, this law only applies when the allergen is an intended ingredient. Manufacturers are not required to include warnings about the possibility of food allergens accidentally entering the food.


Nevertheless, many manufacturers acknowledge the importance of such warnings and voluntarily put them on their foods. Since these warnings are not regulated, there are many phrases that are used and they are not always clear. Packages which state “May contain soy” or “Manufactured in a factory that also processes peanuts” should always be taken seriously and avoided by people with highly sensitive allergies.

Take labeling into your own hands

Don’t hesitate to call the food manufacturer for clarification. Since cross-contamination warnings are voluntary and not regulated, it is possible to campaign for a meaningful warning on the packaging. Sometimes it only takes a phone call and a polite conversation with a service-minded individual.

Source: MayoClinic
Photo: Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Get a Free Peanut Allergy Safe Food Guide

Finding the right, safe foods is one of the most challenging aspect of a peanut allergy and nut allergy all. Each day, you make choices that will impact you and your love ones. We have put together a list of over 3,000 peanut free and nut free foods that include snacks, chocolates, baked goods and more.

Get a Free Peanut Allergy and Nut Allergy Safe Food Guide today and live life safer, better and healthier.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Safe Food Guide.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to PeanutAllergy.com and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

Top Forum Categories

Click on one of the categories below to see all topics and discussions.

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

It Is Easy To Buy Peanut Free Chocolate Online

Ask any parent of a child with a potentially life-...

Seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower, make great peanut or tree nut substitutes in recipes, and roasted soy or garbanzo beans are tasty snacks and...

So many wonderful recipes call for peanut butter. These recipes can still be enjoyed by experimenting with peanut butter replacements.

...

Peanuts and peanut oil are cheap and easy additives to food and other commercial goods. It is surprising (and alarming if you have a...

Those with severe peanut allergies soon learn to look for the 'peanut-free sign' on any packaged food purchase. This is a notation found on a wide...