Food product recalls

Undeclared food allegens

The surprising impact of undeclared allergens

We’ve posted articles on food products safety in the past, but never discussed the danger of food allergens. Or, more specifically undeclared food allergens. I’ve always said the danger isn’t so much what’s on the label, but what’s NOT on the label.

In the first quarter of 2017, the FDA posted 44 food recalls, 19 of which were due to undeclared allergens. In 2016, USDA recalled 122 foods, 34 of which were because of undeclared allergens.

To put this in even better perspective, there were only 27 meat, fish and poultry recalls for E. coli, salmonella and listeria in 2016.

What are food allergens?

Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, a major food allergen is an ingredient that is one of the following foods or food groups: milk, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, wheat, crustacean shellfish, fish, and soybeans. There are other foods that can cause allergic reactions but FALCPA compliance is not required when they’re contained in packaged foods.

Anaphylaxis resulting from food allergies results in over 30,000 hospital ER visits each year, according to the FDA. Food allergies cause approximately 150 deaths annually.

In a move intended to decrease the impact of allergens, the National Institutes of Health recently announced its intention to award nearly $43 million to the Consortium of Food Allergy Research between 2017 and 2024.

Source: “Undeclared allergens a leading cause of food recalls in U.S.” 4 April 2017.
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