Food allergies: Food labels list top 8 allergens

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food manufacturers to list common food allergens on food labels in simple terms that adults and older children can understand. Common allergens are listed either in the ingredients list, after the list, or right next to it. The labeling requirements are designed to reduce your chances of an accidental allergic reaction to a food.

Revised in January of 2006, the updated food label takes some of the guesswork out of label reading, helping you easily identify foods that could cause an allergic reaction. For example, most people mistakenly believe that nondairy means that there is no milk in a product. Before the label guidelines were revised, the use of "nondairy" was allowed even when the foods contained milk byproducts. If a product contains casein, a milk-derived protein, the product's label now lists the term "milk" in parenthesis after the term "casein." Or, the label will simply state "Contains milk." This simple approach is especially helpful for kids with food allergies who may be choosing their own snacks.

The food allergens

While food labels don't include every possible allergen, they do list the top eight, which account for 90 percent of all documented food allergies:

* Milk

* Eggs

* Peanuts

* Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)

* Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)

* Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)

* Soy

* Wheat

This list also represents the foods most likely to cause a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

Allergens and food labels

Here are answers to a few common questions about food label requirements.

* What foods are labeled? Any domestic or imported packaged food regulated by the FDA is required to make these labeling changes.

* What's included on the label? The label lists the type of allergen — for example, the type of tree nut (almond, walnut) or the type of crustacean shellfish (crab, shrimp) — as well as any ingredient that contains a protein from the eight major food allergens. The labels also include any allergens found in flavorings, colorings or other additives.

* What foods aren't labeled? Fresh produce, fresh meat and certain highly refined oils do not require listing of potential food allergens on the labels. Foods that may inadvertently come into contact with a food allergen during the growing, harvesting or manufacturing process also are exempt.


In addition to the current food labeling changes, the FDA is working to tighten regulations for manufacturers' use of the term "gluten free" on food labels. Gluten is a protein that occurs in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. This protein can cause a serious reaction (though not an allergic one) in people who have celiac disease, a digestive disorder. About 2 million people in the United States have the disease. Often people with celiac disease are unsure about which foods contain gluten. The FDA will issue standards for what constitutes a gluten-free product by 2008.

What this means for you

"If you have a food allergy, the new labeling should help you avoid exposure to even small amounts of a food allergen, something you haven't been able to do before," says James Li, M.D., an asthma and allergy specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

If you think you have a food allergy, but haven't been tested, see your doctor. Without specific testing, you won't know whether or how much or how little exposure might trigger a serious allergic reaction.

"Not all people with food allergies are at significant risk when exposed to very small quantities of food," says Dr. Li. "Work closely with your doctor to develop a personalized plan to reduce your risk of inadvertent exposure to the food you're allergic to."

Labels reveal the details

Although the new food-labeling law helps you make safe choices, it might also raise your eyebrows. The law requires food allergens to be identified even in the smallest amounts. As a result, you might notice some surprising ingredients on food labels, such as soy lecithin used as a nonstick agent for baked goods or fish gelatin used in coloring for soup broth.

Food allergen awareness: A refresher

If you have a food allergy, follow these steps to increase your chances of avoiding an allergic reaction:

* Practice prevention. Always know what you're eating and drinking. The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid foods that cause allergy signs and symptoms.

* Know about hidden food allergens. Some food allergens may be well hidden when used as ingredients in certain dishes. This is especially true in restaurants and other social settings, such as church or neighborhood gatherings or homemade foods brought into the workplace.

* Be proactive when dining out. There's more to preventing an allergic reaction than just avoiding food choices based on a restaurant's menu description. You'll need to ask specific questions about ingredients and how each dish is prepared.

* Read and reread. Even though a food product may have been safe the last time you purchased or consumed it, it's possible that the ingredients have changed or the label has been updated. If you have a food allergy, be sure to always read food labels.

* Identify your allergy. Wear a medical alert bracelet that describes your allergy and carry an alert card in your wallet or purse. These items are available over-the-counter at most drugstores and can be purchased on the Internet.

* Prepare to counteract a reaction. Talk with your doctor about whether you should carry an emergency medication in case of an allergic reaction.

Made some Changes

I have too many blog. It's kinda hard to keep up with them sometimes. I have made some changes.I have change the title of this blog, but the URL is still the same. The Title of this blog was "Against All Odds" ; I'd changed it to " One Step Forward To Healthy Living" which I have right now. And I would like to gear this blog topics to Health mainly. I think that Knowing about health this day is very important. Specialy some of my family member is suffering Diabetes and Hearth problem . I think It would be nice to share some thoughts and tips how people can avoid having this kind of illnesses. So keep on eye on my up coming post. Hope it will help others. And that is my goal.

How to Persuade Yourself to Do Anything

You know you you should. You would. You could. And yet... You can't. It's that internal dialogue, that says "Don't!!!" You don't know why but you can't. Turn can't into can.

Figure out why you can't. What are the consequences? What is the worst that could happen? If you don't know why not then, why not? Silence the voices in your head that say "NO". Tell them to"Shut up".
Concentrate on the positive outcome. If you can think of some consequences, think of how much good it could do you! Most likely the consequences are silly and unimportant. Find out why they're not important or they're not going to happen.
Read some inspirational texts. They can help greatly.
Ponder the negative results of not following through. Consequences can help you. What will happen if you don't do it? Worst case scenarios are a good visual aid. If you want to call that long lost friend, you must because if you don't you might never see them again, and you'll regret it for the rest of your life.
Act. Just do it. Don't think about it. Pick up the phone and dial that friend. Tell your obnoxious roommate to hit the road. You don't need a reason. You need results.

* If it's something irresponsible or illegal, such as murder or robbing the bank, STOP. Don't do it. If the consequences outweigh the pros, then stop.
* If you can't help thinking about things like murder or robbery, go see a therapist.

Welcome Message

Hey there fellow bloggers ! I would like to welcome you here in my blog. Please relax and sit back while browsing .Make a comment, & suggestion. For exchanging links... let me know or leave me a message on my message box. Thank's for dropping by, I appreciate it and hope you come back again soon.

Message Box

ShoutMix chat widget

Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 01 December 2009 This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest. To get your own policy, go to

Blog Archieve