Archive for January, 2006

Food Labelling can be deceiving

For those that haven’t seen this yet there are many scientific names for common food allergens.

I have to carry a list with me in my wallet so that I can remember them when I check labels for my kids that have anaphylaxis.

Don’t get caught out, and make sure you check for these ingredients regardless of if your country has labelling laws in place.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Before the new law, food labels could read like a chemistry book. Check out a few names that indicate the presence of milk, eggs, soy, wheat or peanuts in a product.

Milk

Lactoferrin; Lactalbumin; Lactalbumin phosphate; Nisin; Rennet casein; Whey; Ghee

May indicate the presence of milk protein

Luncheon meat, hot dogs, sausages; Non-dairy products; Caramel candies; High protein flour; Lactose; Flavorings (including natural and artificial)

Eggs

Albumin (also spelled albumen); Lysozyme; Meringue

May indicate the presence of egg protein

Lecithin; Marzipan; Marshmallows; Nougat; Surimi; Flavorings (including natural and artificial)

Wheat

Kamut (relative of wheat); Durum; Farina; Spelt; Vital gluten; Seitan; Bulgur; Semolina

May indicate the presence of wheat protein

Hydrolyzed protein; Starch (gelatinized starch, vegetable starch, modified starch); Surimi; Soy sauce; Flavorings (including natural and artificial)

Soy

Edamame; Miso; Natto; Shoyu sauce; Tamari; Tempeh

May indicate the presence of soy protein

Vegetable broth; Vegetable starch; Vegetable gum; Flavorings (including natural and artificial)

Peanuts

May indicate the presence of peanut protein

Chili; Egg rolls; Enchilada sauce; Marzipan; Nougat; Flavorings (including natural and artificial)

SOURCE: The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

Aaron

New US labelling laws now in effect Q&A

So for anaphylaxis sufferers this will certainly be a welcome change to struggling with all the scientific names there are for foods.

But what really ticks me off is that the food industry still thinks that full disclosure is not required. They think that if they list everything that’s in their products no one will be able to eat it.

Well food industry people that’s the whole idea. It’s up to the consumer to make the choice, not for you to just prop up your bottom line by not printing what’s in the product because you’ll lose a piece of the market when they find out.

A new federal food-labeling law that will affect people with allergies goes into effect Jan. 1. Here are answers to often-asked questions.

Q. Simply speaking, what does the law say?

A. The eight major foods or food groups that cause most allergic reactions must be labeled in plain language.

Q. What are the eight?

A. Milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soy.

Q. What does “plain language” mean?

A. If a product contains a derivative of a food, the food’s common name must be used. If albumin is an ingredient, the label must also say egg.

Q. Is it specific enough to label something fish, shellfish or tree nuts?

A. No. The type of nut must be identified, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts.

The species must be declared for fish, such as bass, flounder, cod. For shellfish: crab, lobster or shrimp.

Q. What if just a little bit of the allergen is in the food?

A. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to consider threshold levels for allergens as companies request certain ingredients be exempt from labeling requirements.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Aaron