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Understanding Allergen Labeling Requirements

Food allergies are a fact of life in today's world. Around 32 million people in the United States alone deal with food allergies on a daily basis. For this reason, it is critical that manufacturers of everything from food to beauty products take steps to add the proper allergy warning labels to their products.

If you don't have a lot of experience with allergen labeling, you might be wondering what you need to list and how you should apply it to your product label. We've taken the guesswork out of it for you with this handy guide. Read on to learn all about allergen requirements on product labels!

Know Which Allergens Require Warning Labels

Food allergen labeling isn't something that's done out of convenience for consumers. It's federally mandated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA). This Act requires that all foods, drugs, and cosmetics that contain "major food allergens" must have a label disclosing those ingredients.

What are major food allergens?

Major food allergens are foods that contain one of the following ingredients, or a protein derived from them: milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. This act was recently amended, however, and as of January 1, 2023, manufacturers will need to include sesame on their allergy warning labels, too.

How to Incorporate Allergen Warnings Into Your Product Packaging

Now that you know which allergens you need to list on your product packaging, it's equally important to understand how to do it properly. The first step is to examine the ingredients in all of your products to identify any and all allergens. Once you know which of your products needs an allergy label, you can start constructing the label itself.

Contains Statements

The most common way manufacturers list their allergens is either in the ingredients list itself or in an explicit disclosure below the ingredients list. If you want to include your allergens in your ingredients list, be sure to include the specific allergen in parentheses next to the ingredient name so it is easy to identify.

For example, if you list enriched flour, you'd want to add a parenthetical that includes the term wheat in it. If you want to make it easier for your consumers to identify the allergens in your products, however, all you need to do is add a statement below your ingredients.

An example of this is a statement that reads, "CONTAINS: MILK, SOY, EGG."

May Contain Statements

A lot of companies create products at a facility that's used for creating a wide variety of products, including products that contain allergens. Proper cleaning of facility equipment should prevent cross-contamination issues. If you truly want to protect yourself, then you can add a "may contain" statement to your label.

Do Your Products Meet Allergen Labeling Requirements?

Allergy labeling might sound like a complicated task, but as you can see, it's actually pretty simple. All you need to do is stay up to date on the latest major allergens you need to include on your warning labels and add them if your product uses them. Taking the time do this right will save you a ton of stress (and bad reviews) in the future!

Do you want to make your product packaging stand out from the competition? We can help you out with that! Contact Milk & Bull today to learn how we can help you take your products to the next level!


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