Make Sure Your Foods are Allergen-Free
Having a food allergy makes a person’s life miserable, aside from avoiding foods that he wants to eat; it makes eating a new product or eating in a new place risky. One mistake may take his life in an instant unlike normal people who can eat almost all that they want wherever they want to.
There are ways to know whether your food is allergen-free or not. There are new policies that would help the allergic people know which products are allergen-free and which are not. Under these, a manufacturer must specify or list ingredients made from proteins that are derived from allergen sources like milk, egg, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, nuts and tree nuts. These are the allergen sources that account 90% of the food allergies that exists. The newly implemented policy obligates the manufacturer to inform the allergic consumers about this. It is made possible by specifying the sources of allergens in parentheses after the lists of ingredients.
Manufacturers should also name the list of colorings, flavorings, and the likes, for they may contain hidden allergens. Presence of allergens maybe in a small amount but it is certain to make a fatal reaction on the allergic person’s body. In addition, manufacturers should also declare whether their product by a chance may have cross contamination or not. Cross contamination may result from the process that uses machinery or processor that is also shared by the two products. Moreover, it can be a result of powders with allergen source dispersed in the air.
However, allergic consumers are still not safe from allergens even if they are the one who reads the label.
Sometimes, ingredients that are listed in the labels are not known to the reading public. Most of the ingredients that are derived from the allergen source are not known to the consumers. Casein, caseinate, curds, nougat, rennet, lactalbumin, and whey are ingredients derived from milk. If ever they will be including casein in their product manufacturers must replace it with milk or list it like this: casein (milk).
Albumin, eggnog, meringue are from eggs.
Fish can be listed in their specific name like cod, flounder, bass and surimi. Manufacturers should inform the consumers that these are fishes.
Crabs, lobster, and shrimps should be listed as crustaceans.
Tree nuts most specific names are almonds, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and macadamia.
Wheat bran, bulgur, couscous, durum, farina, gluten, matzoh, kamut, semolina, are derived from wheat.
Beer nuts, goobers, peanut flour, nut meal are derived from peanuts.
Hydrolyzed soy proteins, miso, TVP, textured soy protein are derived from soy bean.
Manufacturers have two options in labeling their products. First is that they may state their product that it has an allergen source. Or the second, manufacturers may specify the allergen source after the list of ingredients enclosed in parenthesis.
However, the manufacturers are not mandated to label their products with a “may contain” statement. But if ever the consumer of that said product reports to the authority an incident of allergic reaction using or eating the product. The government may confiscate the manufacturer’s license.
This policy should not be a burden to the manufacturers because the markets of allergic consumers are very much small compared to the normal consumers. And if ever it will affect the manufacturers’ sales, it will just be in a small percentage.
If you are still not sure about the product just call the manufacturer’s customer care hotline. Ask if there are any allergen sources in the product. If you think the one you talk to is not a reliable one, just ask him or her if you can talk to the supervisor. Yet, do not forget to stress it out that you just want to be so sure so as not to offend him or her. After all, prevention is better than cure.