A new Food and Drug Administration page talks about food allergens that sometimes appear in products unrelated to the source allergen and unreliable food labeling. The FDA says that undeclared allergens (those not appearing on labels) are the most common reason for food recalls in the United States.
Although most recalls are voluntary, the FDA does have the power to seize products that are mis-labeled in order to remove them from the marketplace.
The page discusses the FDA's plan for reducing such recalls and the risks the foods could have for allergy sufferers. They take a three-pronged approach and ask for consumers to help in the process.
The three approaches:
- Researching the cause of the errors
- Working with the industry on best practices
- Developing new ways to test for the presence of allergens
One of the ways consumers can help is by reporting food, including specific brands, for suspected mis-labeling. Anyone having a food-based or suspected food-based reaction to a product should keep the product's label so physicians can report it to the FDA. These investigations help find what foods are most affected and if any specific brand or type of food is more likely to contain non-declared allergens.
More information can be found here on the FDA's website.