Enough has been written about the recent regulation changes permitted by the FDA regarding the labeling policies of food items. The reason given for this drastic action was ‘supply chain disruptions from COVID-19.’ Reactions from the allergy community were swift and fast coming, with outrage, fear, and shock being expressed across the online communities by those affected by food allergies as well as those who aren’t.
With 32 million Americans affected by food allergies, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who is not either personally affects or knows someone who is. What is perhaps the most painful and disappointing part of this saga is that over the past few years there have been many advances towards a safer world for people with food allergies, with changes taking effect in the labeling policies and restaurant regulations, school education towards food allergies and overall acceptance and awareness towards the people affected and their challenges. In one unexpected swipe, the FDA seems to have taken the world many steps backward.
The good news
Although this policy is currently still standing there have still been a few positive counter-actions that have taken place since the FDA modifications.
An online petition started by Rachel Pell called, “Tell FDA NO!” has been stunningly successful with over 13,000 signatures at the time of this writing. If anyone affected by the new changes in labeling is feeling down- all they have to do is read through some of the comments written and not only by those with personal connections to food allergies, to be encouraged. The comments highlight just how far food allergy awareness has come.
These are just a few of the comments:
- “I do not want any child to die because of avoidable food allergies.”
- “For the lives of my loved ones!”
- “It will save lives”
- “It’s the right thing to do!”
- “People have lethal allergies. Products need to have ingredients listed to prevent” “death/anaphylactic shock.”
- “the child I babysit has severe allergies!”
- “There are too many lives at risk of severe allergic reactions for this to be OK!!”
- “Protect the innocent with allergies and save lives!”
If you haven't signed yet, or you would like to read the comments, click here.
Snacksafely.com has reached out to all companies who are part of their Manufacture Partnership Program and have asked them to “submit statements pledging that they will not substitute ingredients without stating the updated ingredient list on their packaging.” As of this writing, 48 companies have written pledges. Click here for the updated version.
Due to these new regulations, consumers with food allergies will now need to contact companies of products that they previously used and trusted for updated allergy information about products they still wish to use. Usually, once a consumer receives a response they share the answer with the Facebook group they are a part of. While this is a great way to share resources, the many food allergy groups on Facebook are not connected and the information is not shared around with everyone who would benefit. Therefore, as a service to the food allergy community, Foodallergyconcierge asks anyone who has contacted manufacture regarding updated allergy information to send them the information they received so we can combine the data and share it with the food allergy community.
The collected information can be found on our website here or through our Facebook page as soon as the information comes in. Please help others with food allergies and save their time and yours by sending in any information you have researched so that it can be beneficial for everyone.
You can send in your information through our Facebook page or via email at .
While stocking up on all food items isn’t a practical solution, it is worthwhile to buy a few month's supplies of a product that you feel will be difficult to live without, like breakfast cereal or a certain brand of pasta. Although we hope our initiative mentioned above will be successful, companies are not obligated to divulge any information about the contents and circumstances surrounding their products, not listed on their labels as required by the FDA and some companies do not share extra information willingly.
We sincerely hope that these changes are either very temporary or halted altogether and we wish everyone a continued and safe year. We will get through this- together.