Eight Major Allergens

The FDA recognizes and regulates eight major food allergens (of a potential list of 160!).

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Shellfish
  4. Fish
  5. Tree Nuts
  6. Peanuts (different from tree nuts, peanuts are actually from a root, not a tree)
  7. Soybeans
  8. Wheat

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)of 2004 dictates that any these eight major allergens be clearly labeled and “identify the food source names of all major food allergens used to make the food.” This does NOT take into consideration the possibility of cross-contaimination from transport, shared machines in manufacturing, shared equipment or processing lines… It only addresses the actual listed ingredients of the food. The manufacturer may list a warning of possibly cross-contact, such as  “may contain [wheat]” or “produced in a facility that also uses [wheat]”.

Why do I mention this on a gluten-free blog? Well, ’cause the FALCPA rule helps us identify one of the potential sources of gluten: wheat. So “wheat” must be clearly, in plain english, listed in ingredients. 

While all “wheat-free” foods are safe if you have a wheat allergy, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gluten-free. But that’s a topic for another post: Wheat-Free Doesn’t Mean “Gluten-Free”

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