Thursday, July 05, 2007

Consumers need to know more about allergens; FDA helps out

Consumers need to know more about allergens; FDA helps out

An estimated two percent of adults and about five percent of infants and young children in the United States suffer from food allergies. Allergic reactions to food vary in severity, but approximately 30,000 people require emergency room treatment, and 150 die each year as a result of them. The only means of preventing allergic reactions is to avoid the foods that cause them. FDA's allergen labeling rule helps them to do so.

To help people avoid the risks food allergens pose, the Food and Drug Administration requires that the labels of all foods FDA regulates (all foods except meat, poultry, and certain egg products) must clearly identify the source of all ingredients that are-or are derived from-the eight most common food allergens. This requirement became effective January 1, 2006, so there may still be some product labels in stores or people's homes without this information.

While more than 160 foods can cause reactions in people with food allergies, the eight most common allergenic foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions, and are the sources from which many other ingredients are derived. Many of these foods could be ingredients within meat and poultry products, and mislabeling them or failing to label them on meat and poultry products results in product recalls.

The eight foods are:1. Milk, 2. Eggs, 3 Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), 4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), 5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), 6. Peanuts, 7. Wheat, 8. Soybeans

Unless they are part of the ingredient's common or usual name (or are already clearly identified in the ingredient list), these eight food allergens may appear on food labels either:

—In parentheses following the name of the ingredient, e.g., lecithin (soy); flour (wheat); and whey (milk); or,

—Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a "contains" statement, e.g., Contains wheat, milk, and soy.

Symptoms of food allergies typically appear from within a few minutes to two hours after a person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic. Symptoms can include:

* Hives * Flushed skin or rash * Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth * Face, tongue, or lip swelling * Vomiting and/or diarrhea * Abdominal cramps * Coughing or wheezing * Dizziness and/or lightheadedness * Swelling of the throat and vocal cords * Difficulty breathing * Loss of consciousness

For more information on food allergies and allergen labeling, go to FDA's webpage at or call FDA at:1-888-SAFEFOOD.

Huh. I find it interesting that our government continues to focus on bandaids rather than looking at causative factors in our environment. True, I am happy they are labeling and "alerting" the herd.

For fun, I put together my top Questions to FDA:
1) Why are us parents having children with impaired immune systems, which in turn, cannot discriminate between food and real viruses and bacteria that pose a threat?

2) Why are us parents having children with impaired GI systems, which in turn, cannot efficiently assimilate food and flush out toxins?

3) Why do we continue to add soybeans, our number 1 GMO, to viturally all processed foods?

4) Why do we continue to feed our livestock the top allergic ingredients, such as wheat and soy?

5) Why is dairy in virtually all processed foods?

6) Oh, and it seems you forgot to list the behavioral symptoms of allergies such as: Dark circles under eyes, Eczema, psoriasis, Diarrhea, constipation, Gas, bloating, Spaciness, Stimming, Aggressive behavior, Runny nose, Bronchial symptoms and asthma, Stomach tenderness, Reflux, Ear infections, Nausea, Tightening of throat, Headache, and Fatigue

7) Last but not least, why are we not studying healthy children and adults? How do their genes, lifestyle, and GI/Immune systems differ? What can we learn from them? What are they doing? And what are they NOT doing?


Maddy said...

Love the questions dearie! [let us know when they send you the answers!]

Does this mean that as a parent, if you're not allergic to any of the items you list that we're some kind of superhuman? [please say yes!}

AshleyLeo said...

I suppose so. Superhuman it is! I'm certainly not one of those parents unfortunately. I think I'm allergic to my own hormones. tee hee!