New Food Labeling Law Requires Listing of Allergens
FDA requires eight allergenic foods to be listed starting January 1, 2006
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week that food products must contain a list on their label of all ingredients derived from eight major allergenic foods to comply with a new law that takes effect Jan. 1, 2006.
Mandated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), the new requirements apply to food containing protein from milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soybeans. These foods account for 90% of all documented food allergic reactions. Manufacturers are required to either identify the presence of such ingredients in the list of ingredients or to say "contains" followed by the name of the source of the food allergen after or adjacent to the list of ingredients.
"This labeling will be especially helpful to children who must learn to recognize the presence of substances they must avoid," according to an FDA statement. "For example, if a product contains the milk-derived protein, casein, the product's label will have to use the term 'milk' in addition to the term 'casein' so that those with milk allergies can clearly understand the presence of the allergen they need to avoid."
The new law does not require food manufacturers or retailers to remove or re-label products from grocery or supermarket shelves that were labeled before Jan. 1, 2006. The FDA warns that there will be a transition period in which consumers will likely see packaged food on store shelves and in homes without the revised allergen labeling.