Science panel urges rewrite of food allergy warning labels
“Made in the same factory as peanuts.” ‘’May contain traces of tree nuts.” A new report says the hodgepodge of warnings that a food might accidentally contain a troublesome ingredient is confusing to people with food allergies, and calls for a makeover. Foods made with allergyprone ingredients such as peanuts or eggs must be labeled so consumers with food allergies know to avoid them. But what if a sugar cookie picks up peanut butter from an improperly cleaned factory mixer?
Today’s precautionary labels about accidental contamination are voluntary, meaning there’s no way to know if foods that don’t bear them should — or if wording such as “may contain traces” signals a bigger threat. Wednesday, a report from the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said it’s time for regulators and the food industry to clear consumer confusion with labels that better reflect the level of risk.