Food allergy management for manufacturers goes beyond the legally required statement of a top eight allergen. Consider this situation:
A food company produces its products in two plants. Plant A produces only chocolate bars, while Plant B also produces snack cakes. Chocolate bars from Plant A do not have allergen labeling. Chocolate bars from Plant B include this statement: “This product may contain trace amounts of wheat and soy.”
Consumers are concerned about the label differences, so the company adds the allergy statement to the Plant A chocolate bars even though it was unnecessary. Now a consumer who’s allergic to wheat and soy picks up her favorite candy bar and sees an allergen statement.
Since she’s eaten the product before without a problem, should she eat this one? Or, does she not take the risk, and the company loses her business? If she does eat it without a problem, what’s the risk of ignoring similar labeling on other products?
Decisions about the most commonly allergenic foods can have long-lasting positive or negative consequences for your operation. The good news is that you can please both the 90 percent of Americans who don’t have a food allergy and those who do by learning the basics, following best practices and staying informed. Peanuts are often in the food allergy spotlight, but less than 1 percent of the population has a peanut allergy. Severe reactions can occur with any food, and all food allergic consumers deserve to have their allergy taken seriously.