Learn How to Read Food Labels
FALCPA Fast Facts:
- FALCPA stands for: the Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act
- It passed into law in 2004
- It only applies to ‘major food allergens’. These are your big 8: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts (like walnuts or pecans), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish (like lobster, shrimp or crab)
- Shellfish does not include molluscan shellfish like scallops, clams, mussels and oysters
- For tree nuts, fish and crustacean shellfish the specific type of nut or fish must be labeled
- FALCPA is for FDA regulated foods only, like:
- Packaged foods
- Conventional foods
- Vitamins and dietary supplements
- Infant formula and infant foods
- Medical foods
These FALCPA rules do not apply to:
- Fresh meat, fruit, vegetables
- Carry out box from restaurants (think a sandwich you order or bakery, street food, food trucks, festival foods, fast food restaurants)
- Highly refined oils
- Prescription & over the counter drugs
- Personal care items like cosmetics, shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste
- Alcoholic drinks, spirits, beer, tobacco
- Kosher labeling
- Pet foods
Read labels every time, even if you trust a product
- There are no rules about changing ingredients or communicating those changes
- Sometimes different sizes have different ingredients. Like a fun size candy bar could be different than a King size
If the allergen is not a top 8 what do you do
- Other foods do not have to be declared
- Call the manufacturer and ask, but they don’t have to tell you
- When in doubt, don’t use it
There are 2 ways to show you there is a major food allergen on packaging
- Option 1: list the allergen in () after an ingredient. Ingredients: natural flavors (almond), salt
- Option 2: Ingredients: natural flavors, Contains: almond
Declarations of trace amounts are voluntary
- Things like “may contain”, or “processed in a facility with” are voluntary
- A manufacturer does not have to warn you that there may be unintentional traces or cross-contamination
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