TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Recent History
3. THE ISSUE
A food allergy is a reaction of the body's immune system to otherwise harmless substances in certain foods (Center, 2012). Food intolerance is different from food allergy as it necessarily doesn’t involve the immune system. Food allergies have different reactions on different people, while some might be only uncomfortable, for others it might be life threatening triggering anaphylactic shocks (Clinic). About 90% of these allergies are caused by 8 foods: cow's milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish. With the exception of peanut allergy, the majority of children outgrow their food allergies (Center, 2012). At present there is no cure food allergies. A food allergic consumer can only avoid the allergens (FDA, 2006).
An estimated 2 percent of adults and about 5 percent of infants and young children in the United States suffer from food allergies; and each year, roughly 30,000 individuals require emergency room treatment and 150 individuals die because of allergic reactions to food (FDA, 2006). The congress recognized the need for notifying consumers of potential allergens by passing the Food Drug and Cosmetics act in 1938. Notification is required when the consumers usually don’t know the allergens present in the food (Fortin, 2005). Recently, congress passed an Act for consumers who are allergic to major food allergens. The Food Allergens Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) law require that a label of a food that contains any ingredient from the major food allergen list, declare their presence by labelling it on the food package (FDA, 2006).
Congress passed Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) for allergic consumers to identify and avoid foods that contain major food allergens (FDA, 2006). The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (“Food Allergen Act”) was signed into law on August 3, 2004 (FDA, 2006). The law effective on the January 1, 2006 required the labelling of major food allergens in clear and plain language (FDA, 2006).
FALCPA identifies eight foods or food groups as the major food allergens. They are milk, eggs, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), peanuts, wheat, and soybeans (FDA, 2006).
The potential allergens risk to the consumers was recognized by the congress when the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) was passed in 1938 itself. However, this labelling act remained unchanged until recently as the manufacturers still used allergens in their food under as fraud.
As the law allows collective listings of the color, spices and ingredients used in the recipes, it often may occur that the major food allergens are hiding in the recipes. For example; natural...