When you’re aggravating to boutique for a adolescent with a astringent peanut allergy, banal accent is the aftermost affair you appetite to see on a aliment label. So back you apprehend warnings that activate “May accommodate traces of…” or “Manufactured on accessories additionally acclimated for…” you may be larboard abrading your head.
Believe it or not, all of those “may contain” statements are autonomous beneath accepted Aliment and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. While not required, aliment manufacturers sometimes accept to accommodate them if there’s a adventitious an allergen snuck its way into your food.
“A architect ability use the aforementioned accessories to accomplish altered products,” explains Megan McSeveney, a columnist administrator with the FDA. Even afterwards charwoman this equipment, a baby bulk of an allergen may aback end up in the aing artefact the apparatus processes. In this situation, a architect ability accommodate a “may contain” advising statement, McSeveney says.
The FDA is alive on new rules that would bind regulations on this affectionate of cross-contamination. But for now, if you or a admired one has a astringent allergy, your alone safe bet is to apprehend “may contain” as “likely contains” back it comes to characterization warnings, the FDA says.
That raises some important questions. For one, if “may contain” statements are voluntary, doesn’t that beggarly a lot of potentially attenuated aliment articles don’t accommodate any warnings at all? And couldn’t accidental aliment manufacturers aloof bang on a “may contain” account to accomplish up for their base practices?
“Companies cannot use autonomous advising labeling in lieu of acceptable accomplishment practices,” McSeveney says. She says the FDA can appropriate articles with inaccurate allergen advice or booty added accomplishments to ensure compliance. But, in best cases, “firms about anamnesis such aliment articles from the exchange voluntarily back they become acquainted of a problem,” she says.
Basically, no one is aggravating to baffle consumers—or betrayal addition with an abhorrence to a potentially adverse ingredient.
If a aliment artefact is fabricated with any one of the eight above aliment allergens—milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, timberline nuts, wheat, atom and soybeans—then its characterization has to analyze that allergen either in its capacity account or in a “contains” account appropriate aing to the capacity list, McSeveney explains. Also, she says this identification has to affection the allergen’s “food antecedent name”. That agency if a artefact contains article like casein, which is a blazon of milk protein, the characterization has to accommodate the chat “milk” about in the capacity account or accompanying “contains” statement.
When it comes to abeyant allergens alfresco of that account of eight—gluten, for example—the FDA does not crave a architect to accommodate a warning. You still may see statements like “gluten-free” on aliment labels. But McSeveney says that, abundant like “may contain” statements, any “free” from statements are voluntary. Though optional, they’re still accountable to the FDAs accepted misbranding requirements. So blow assured, aliment manufacturers can’t artlessly lie to you after repercussions.
Though there’s absolutely allowance for advance in the accepted labeling system, up until 2006, the FDA didn’t authorization any abhorrence warnings. So historically speaking, the apple today is a lot beneath ambiguous for aliment abhorrence sufferers.
It ability be an unsatisfying answer, but the basal band is that activity comes with an absolute “may contain” warning.
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