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Effective January 1, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring food labels to list any ingredients that contain protein derived from any of the eight major allergenic foods that account for 90 percent of all documented allergic reactions. The new labeling will help food-allergic consumers, especially children, know which foods to avoid.
Effective January 1, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring food labels to clearly state if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods. These eight major food allergens account for 90 percent of all documented food allergic reactions.
As a result of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), manufacturers are required to add this identification, in plain English, in the list of ingredients. The identification must state the presence of ingredients (or say "contains" followed by name of the source of the food allergen after or adjacent to the list of ingredients) that contain protein derived from:
- Crustacean shellfish
- Tree nuts
This food allergy labeling will be especially helpful to children who must learn to recognize the presence of substances they must avoid. 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.
It is estimated that about 2 percent of adults and about 5 percent of infants and young children in the United States suffer from food allergies. Approximately 30,000 consumers require emergency room treatment and 150 Americans die each year because of allergic reactions to food.