FDA Food Label Hearing – Today!

Posted 9.16.08 | Christine Graham-Garo

How many times have you been to a grocery store or a restaurant, and read a vague warning note that says, “This product may contain peanuts?” As an allergy parent, I’m sure you’ve noticed these not so direct labels quite a bit.

Recently, there has been a lot of coverage over the confusion that allergy labeling is causing. And I know this is frustrating! All you want to know is, can my child eat this, yes or no? Lucky for you, and for all allergy parents out there, the FDA is holding a hearing today, September 16, to discuss setting allergy labeling standards (right now, allergy warnings are voluntary).

This hearing could not have come at a better time. Parents are so befuddled that many of them are just ignoring food labels altogether. It seems that most allergy parents hold the opinion these days that the safest thing you can do for your allergy prone little one is to cook everything at home from scratch. However, this is not feasible or practical for many busy families.

Here are a few tips on avoiding the confusion:
- Do your research at home – find a list of products you KNOW are allergen free.

- Air on the side of caution – if a product says, “Made in a factory with milk,” and your child has a milk protein allergy, stay away from it. You are better off buying a product made in a 100% dairy free environment, like Neocate.

- Have one “homemade” food item on hand for an easy meal – that way you won’t pick up a product that “may” contain an allergen because you are in a hurry.

Today’s FDA hearing is the beginning of a long process to clear up accidental-allergy warnings that are misleading consumers. This will be the FDA’s first step in developing a “long-term strategy.”

The hearing, being held in College Park, Maryland, is open to the public. For more information on attending the hearing, click here.

And for more information on the current food allergy standards, click here.

How do you feel about food allergy labels? I’d love to know!

- Christine

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.