There is actually a law that requires accurate food labeling for possible allergens. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) became law in 2004 and went into effect 2 years later. Beware what that means to you.

Presently, foods are labeled to identify if eight major food allergens are present. These 8 were arrived at by looking at what causes 90% of all allergic reactions within the United States. The 8 are milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.

Beware Food Allergen Labels Another thing specified is how exactly should the labels declare food allergens going so far as to say, there is a need to specify which type of nut, be it, almond, pecan or coconut also as regards fish, the type of fish, for example, flounder or bass, and when it comes to crustaceans specifications necessary, whether it’s shrimp, crab or lobster.

Since mollusk shellfish isn’t a major allergen they do not have to be labeled that is whether it has clams, mussels, or scallops.

 I think it’s important for you to realize that the FDA regulates many types of food, for example, packaged foods, conventional foods, vitamins, dietary supplements, infant formulas, infant food, and medical foods. Yes the FDA also regulates items produced outside the US but intended for sale in the United States.  FALCPA labeling also applies to all retail and food-service establishments. This includes any foods in vending machines or packages that say individual or single use. 

You need to know that there are areas, not covered by the FDA oversight that includes over-the-counter drugs, personal care, items, cosmetic, shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc. Also beyond their eye is anything regulated by the USDA or alcohol, tobacco tax and trade bureau (ATTB), and kosher labeling. Let us not forget FDA does not cover pet foods, supplements, and supplies for pets.

It’s furthermore important if you or your loved one has a serious allergy that this law does not require advisory statements, for example, ‘may contain’ meaning there was a possibility of cross contact with a type of food allergen item. Scary!  Another caveat I found very interesting is that FALCPA does not limit use of non-diary or diary free. The term non-dairy, according to law, can appear on foods that contain milk derivatives as ingredients. So while showing non-diary it may have a listed ingredient of ‘caseinates’ with parenthesis’ (milk) ‘ next to it.  The FDA does not specifically addressed the term dairy free, so that is not affected by this law at all.