Avoiding food allergy reactions

Millions of Americans and their families are affected by food allergies. These allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to certain foods’ proteins. These reactions can be mild (hives, lip swelling, etc.) or more severe (anaphylactic shock), leading to serious respiratory problems. Although promising treatment and prevention strategies are beingĀ developedĀ for food allergies, they cannot be treated. Learning how to identify and manage food allergies is a good time. This is especially important since May is Food Allergy Action Month.

Allergen Labeling Law

The 2004 Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) identified eight major food allergens in the following foods:





Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, and pecans).




These eight allergens were responsible for 90% of all food allergies and severe allergic reactions in the United States when the law was passed. However, President Biden recently signed the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act (the FASTER Act). Sesame is now the ninth most common food allergen. It must be listed as one of the major food allergens above as soon as possible.

The FASTER Act requires that the Secretary of Health and Human Services submit to Congress a report within 18 months (late December 2022) that details ongoing Federal activities and makes recommendations and strategies for expanding, enhancing, or improving them.

Monitoring and collecting data about food allergies, severity, and prevalence for specific food or ingredients. This includes the identification of gaps in such activities.

Effective food allergy diagnostics are being developed.

Preventing the onset and progression of food allergies

Reduced risks associated with living with food allergies

New therapeutics are being developed to treat, prevent, cure, or manage food allergies.

The report will also include recommendations to develop and implement a scientific process and regulatory framework that would permit immediate, transparent, and evidence-based modification to the definition of “major foods allergen.”

FALCPA mandates that ingredients or foods containing a significant food allergen be labeled with the source name. The food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforces this law on most packaged food products, including dietary supplements. This does not apply to meat, poultry, and some egg products (which are regulated under the U.S. Department of Agriculture); alcohol (subject to Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Labeling Regulations); raw agricultural commodities; drugs and cosmetics; and all foods sold at retail and food service establishments that do not have a label.

Using Allergen Labels

Food allergy sufferers should be careful to read labels and avoid foods they are allergic to. Food labels must identify all food allergens used to prepare the food. If the common or usual name for an ingredient already indicates that allergen’s source name (e.g.

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