Sci­ence panel urges re­write of food al­lergy warn­ing la­bels

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

“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.

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