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Food Allergen Labelling And Consumer Protection Act

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As I understand it, this has been enacted and should be in force, and food manufacturers should now have to disclose whether their products contain one of the 8 "major" allergens (good luck to those allergic to anything else). But from what I can tell, there is little effort to comply with this aside from manufacturers who already cared about allergens, and I know of zero effort to enforce the law against manufacturers who don't comply.

Why are we still scrambling to chart personal gluten-free lists for every single food product we eat containing even the mere "natural flavor" ?? Shouldn't all foods have allergen information now?! I'm relatively new to this but am already exasperated with hidden or ambiguous ingredient listings. I was never a fan of the fact that it's legal to call something a "flavor" and get away with it, but now it just makes me mad.

Can anyone fill me in on what is supposed to happen now that the law is on the books?

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They may have to list the top 8 but they do not by law have to list barley or oats which are problems for us. I understand why people have the personal lists. It makes their life easier and they are probably more comfortable when shopping. Supposedly the companies not listing the Top 8 are liable for fines for not complying with the law.

As for natural flavors and such, they still only have to list if those flavors contain one of the top 8.

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I personally don't know of "flavors," "colors" or the like being made from barley or oats (barley malt seems to be listed when it is used). Maybe I'm being a Pollyanna in thinking that no manufacturer is going to want to hide gluten-containing ingredients due to the potential for lawsuits. Remember that lawsuit filed against McDonalds for their fries? (Actually, they've been sued twice over their fries if I recall correctly -- once because they weren't vegan, and once due to claimed gluten.)

I certainly don't remember anyone mentioning here that they found anything hidden in products labeled since the law came into effect. On occasion, though, I'm wrong ... so folks can feel free to point to specific documented instances.

Of course, in the real world, folks can screw up, even big corporations.

I am much more worried due to "unintentional" ingredients. The law only requires listing what is deliberately put into a product. Those "made on machinery that is used on products containing wheat" sort of labels are completely voluntary. So there can be a massive cross-contamination issue and the company doesn't have to say anything at all.

Another problem is that you don't have allergen listing for medicine, supplements, or personal care items.

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I agree that the personal lists of products are really helpful, especially for things like soy sauce, etc, that family members can look at for easy reference. I just think we should not have to list everything under the sun just so we can eat like a normal person - I mean, Ice Cream?! Cold cut ham?! And things like Vitamin supplements and Yogurts should be clearly labeled anyway!

I'm not saying the new law for announcing the 8 major allergens isn't a step forward, but you're so right - we still don't get any information about malt vinegar or other barley, rye, or oat products. And I can't think of any consumer who would rather a label say "natural flavors" than disclose the exact ingredient - whether they have allergies or not. The only reason we don't make laws forcing ALL these ingredients to be disclosed is that it doesn't matter what we think. Who is writing our laws? Voters or the Food Manufacturing inudstry??

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