Analysis of U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Allergen Recalls after Implementation of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act

November 2013
Journal of Food Protection;Nov2013, Vol. 76 Issue 11, p1933
Academic Journal
To avoid potentially life-threatening reactions, food allergic consumers rely on information on food labels to help them avoid exposure to a food or ingredient that could trigger a reaction. To help consumers in the United States obtain the information that they need, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 defined a major food allergen as being one of eight foods or food groups and any ingredient that contains protein from one of these foods or food groups. A food that contains an undeclared major food allergen is misbranded under the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and is subject to recall. Food allergen labeling problems are the most common cause of recalls for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated food products. To help understand why food allergen recalls continue to occur at a high rate, information on each food allergen recall that occurred in fiscal years 2007 through 2012 was obtained from the FDA recall database. This information was analyzed to identify the food, allergen, root cause, and mode of discovery for each food allergen recall. Bakery products were the most frequently recalled food type, and milk was the most frequently undeclared major food allergen. Use of the wrong package or label was the most frequent problem leading to food allergen recalls. These data are the first reported that indicate the importance of label and package controls as public health measures.


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