Food Allergies

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Allergies

Within the last few months, my life has been hit with food allergies. It’s not something you really bother yourself with until it’s in your face. There is no cure for a food allergy other than avoidance. In the United States, we have the big eight allergens: wheat, peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), eggs, milk, crustacean shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), fish (bass, flounder, cod), and soybeans. To help Americans avoid the health risks posed by food allergens, FDA enforces the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (the Act). The Act requires that the food label clearly state if there are any of the food allergens in the food. 

Helpful hints:

lecithin (soy), flour (wheat), and whey (milk)    

I gathered random food products that I have around my house to give you some examples of how allergens are listed.

Peanut butter ingredients label

The above food label clearly states that it was processed in a facility that is free from all allergens.


Ingredients label

This food label contains wheat. Wheat is the second ingredient listed, and is listed at the bottom where the “contains” information must go. Wheat products are not gluten free.

Ingredients label

This label states that the product is gluten free, and it is. Although it can be confusing. Flour contains wheat, which would make this product have gluten in it. Rice, quinoa, and cornflour are all naturally gluten free products, which means this product is in fact gluten.

Annie's ingredients label

This label is very clear in what allergens are in the food. It has bolded the ingredients that would affect someone with allergies and also lists them in the “contains” line.

Sweet Baby Ray's ingredients label

The last label states that it is gluten free, which sometimes makes us think that the food is “healthier” for us. The first ingredient listed is high fructose corn syrup, which is sugar. Make sure to read the food label to catch added ingredients that take away from being healthy. 

As always, if you have any questions on any of the allergens or reading food labels, please reach out to Patti Snyder at patti_snyder@ncsu.edu or (336) 593-8179.