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Food allergen labeling in the USA and Europe

Taylor, Steve L; Hefle, Sue L

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: June 2006 - Volume 6 - Issue 3 - p 186–190
doi: 10.1097/
Food allergy

Purpose of review The ingredient statement on the label of packaged foods is an important source of information for food-allergic consumers. New legislation in the USA and European Union will increase the amount of information available to food-allergic consumers.

Recent findings The USA has implemented the Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act, which mandates use of clear labeling and source labeling of ingredients derived from commonly allergenic sources. Similarly, the European Union is implementing new regulations that mandate the source labeling of ingredients derived from commonly allergenic foods and fuller disclosure of allergenic food components, even when present in small amounts. The food industry is providing consumers with information relating to the presence of allergenic residues by adding voluntary advisory statements, such as ‘may contain peanuts’.

Summary Food-allergic consumers are advised to follow specific strict avoidance diets that exclude allergenic foods and ingredients derived from these foods. Thus individuals must avoid potentially hazardous residues of the allergenic food that might occur as the result of common practices in the food industry. The ingredient statement on packaged food labels now contains more information than ever before.

University of Nebraska, Food Allergy Research & Resource Program, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Correspondence to Steve L. Taylor, PhD, Professor and Co-Director, Food Allergy Research & Resource Program, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919, USA Tel: +1 402 472 2833; fax: +1 402 472 1693; e-mail:

Copyright © 2006 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.