Parents with children who have food allergies and individuals with food allergies obviously want to avoid the risk of being exposed to food allergens. Therefore, reading labels is very important.
However, labels can be quite confusing for allergic consumers. There are so many food products on the market that have “may contain” advisory labels. Packaged foods that do not list food allergens as ingredients, such as soy or peanuts, may have advisory labels that say “may contain peanut.” What does that mean? Does it have it or doesn’t it?
According to a study conducted by the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP), advisory labels can be dangerous for consumers with food allergies. In the study, researchers determined precisely how much peanut (if any) was in various food products that had an advisory labeling for peanut. 186 products were analyzed and just under 9% (16 out of 186) contained detectable levels of peanut. There was a variation in the level of peanut present in the products ranging from 2.5 parts per million (ppm), the lowest amount of peanut the technology used could detect, to 510 parts per million. This is of great concern because 510 ppm is the equivalent of 20.6 milligrams of peanut, which could certainly trigger a reaction.
The study also found that the type of food was also connected to the likelihood of peanut being present. Nutrition bars, candy, baking ingredients, cereal, snack foods and baked goods were more likely to have higher traces of peanut than frozen desserts or instant meals.
Nutrition bars appeared to have the highest levels of peanut. 159 bars were analyzed and 12 contained peanuts, ranging from 3 ppm to 26,000 ppm. The study revealed that 2 of the bars which actually contained peanuts did not list peanut as an ingredient. In addition, the bars also did not have an advisory label, i.e., "may have" traces of peanut.
Therefore, consumers with food allergies should exercise caution when buying food products with advisory labels. It may be a good idea to stay away from foods with advisory labels.
If consumers with food allergies are exposed to food allergens that are not supposed to be in packaged foods, they may suffer serious allergic reactions or life-threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis. In such situations, consumers have legal rights and may be able to file claims against the manufacturers. If you want to know what your legal rights are, call our PA and NJ food allergy lawyer, Daniel J. O’Brien at 877.944.8396 to schedule a FREE consultation.
*Source: www.allergicliving.com (Advisory Labels: May Contain Confusion)