Nutrition Matters

Every day we learn more and more about the foods we eat and how they affect our health. Read about some of the things that you should be aware of and why paying attention to labels is a serious matter.

did you know? food allergies
 
(FDA) – Each year, millions of Americans have allergic reactions to food. Although most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, some can cause severe reactions and may even be life-threatening.
 
There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of known allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences. While more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the eight most common allergenic foods account for 90 percent of reactions, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived. These common allergens are milk, eggs, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.
 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration now requires labels of all foods regulated by the FDA to clearly identify the source of all ingredients that are — or are derived from — the eight most common food allergens. These labels help allergic consumers identify offending ingredients so they can more easily avoid them. Unless the food source of a major food allergen is part of the ingredient’s common or usual name (or is already identified in the ingredient list), it must be included. The name of the food source of a major food allergen must appear:
 
   1. In parentheses following the name of the ingredient. Examples: “lecithin (soy),” “flour (wheat)” and “whey (milk)”;
 
   or 2. Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a “contains” statement. Example: “Contains wheat, milk, and soy.”
 
Food products labeled before January 1, 2006, were not required to be relabeled under this law, and may still be on store shelves — so be sure to take that into consideration and use special care when reading labels.
 
For more information about food labels and food allergies, visit www.fda.gov.