Food Allergy Information
This section contains lists of ingredients to avoid for common food allergens. Because these lists are updated when new synonyms are identified, contact The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network for an updated list.
Patients should be reminded to inspect the ingredients label for all package food items, in addition to checking cosmetics, lotions, skin care and bath products and even pet food treats, many of which contain food allergens and may cause a reaction upon skin contact for some individuals.
Currently, the Code of Federal regulations requires the listing of all ingredients, however, incidental additives do not have to be declared if they are not functional in the finished product and are present in insignificant amount. Additionally, manufactures are not required to label ingredients in flavors, colors or spices.
The terms that currently appear on a food label are sometimes technical and scientific, making it difficult for the average consumer to identify a common food allergen (i.e., casein indicates milk; albumin means egg).
In 2004, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) was signed into law by President Bush. FALCPA requires that food labeled on or after January 1, 2006, declare the presence of major food allergen in simple terms on its ingredient list or via:
- The word “Contains” followed by the name of the major food allergen (milk, wheat, or egg for example), or
- A parenthetical statement in the list of ingredients e.g. “albumin (egg).”
FALCPA defines “major food allergen” as milk, egg, fish (specific type), crustacean shellfish (specific type), tree nut (specific type), wheat peanuts or soy. These allergens must also be declared if they are contained in spices, flavoring, additives, or colorings.
Some food products with the new ingredient labeling are already in the marketplace. Until all ingredient labels are written in simple language, patients must learn the scientific terms for common allergy-causing foods.