The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors the labeling of packaged U.S. food products, enforcing compliance with FDA labeling regulations.

As long as the FDA is doing its job companies comply, and correct infringements, so they can stay in business.

Many labeling infractions in the U.S. have to do with making a nutrition claim on a food item’s front label that is scientifically unsubstantiated, or suggests the food has healing powers reserved for prescription drugs.

Labeling problems that most affect those with food allergies are mislabeled or recalled foods products, and ingredient changes to already familiar items. These label issues are often owed to lack of awareness or human error, and most companies quickly move to rectify the situation once it comes to their attention.

The fact that errors and misjudgments are a part of life makes it necessary for those with food allergies to always be prepared for an unexpected allergic reaction. However, there is an easy way to keep tabs on industry alerts related to labeling and allergies.

Allergy Alerts

The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) website has a page that lists current and past food allergy alerts, and notices of food ingredient changes. It includes food recalls related to the FDAs eight major food allergens: milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.

For instance, a food company is now voluntarily recalling some packaged food “due to misbranding and undeclared allergens.” The items recalled contain a shellfish that was not listed as an ingredient on the label.

Another manufacturer is recalling chili seasoning kits after learning that spice ingredients bought from a third-party supplier contained almond and peanut allergens not declared on the label.

A third company is recalling some granola-type bars though they had labeled the bars, front and back, correctly. The packaging declared that the recipe had changed and now uses cashews. However, the notification was apparently not conspicuous enough for some customers to notice.

You can find the list of recall and labeling alerts at:

  • foodallergy.org/alerts/alerts-feed

For notices of food ingredient changes go to:

  • foodallergy.org/alerts/ingredient-notices

The alerts and notifications on FARE are listed only if the FDA, USDA, or a food manufacturer “has formally released a statement about the product.” Anyone who suspects a food product has been mislabeled or should be recalled can file a consumer complaint with the FDA (link below).

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