Plain English Allergen Labelling can help you become more aware of your allergies by helping you to label items at checkout with plain English. There are many reasons why plain English wording is important on food labels; one reason is that allergens are harder to read. In fact, some allergens are so small that they are invisible to the eye. This is one reason plain English wording is critical when you go through the food line at the store. The goal of this system is to decrease the number of false claims on food labels by allowing more natural sounding words to describe products.
What is it & How Does It Help Me?
Another reason to use this type of labeling is the “Mandatory Specified Terms” rule. The FDA has mandated that for each product there must be a mandatory specified term that informs the customer of what the item is and how it can cause an allergic reaction. Foods that do not have any mandatory specified terms must still be clearly labeled with their allergen information. If there is no mandatory specified terms, you can use the word “allergy” to describe the allergy. This can help the customer understand the term and avoid an allergy reaction.
The only allergy related terms that need to appear on a label are those that require an individual to contact the FDA in order to receive a declaration that the ingredient is safe for ingestion. Even though manufacturers have to list a primary ingredient and a secondary ingredient in food products, the only allergy related term that is required by law is the word “wheat”. Almost all other ingredients, whether chemical, vitamin or food grade, can be declared under this phrase. In addition, foods that are heated at high temperatures can also be declared as safe if the temperature is above 250 degrees, unless there is also a declaration by the manufacturer that there are foods that are inherently heat sensitive and should not be consumed at temperatures above that level. Plain English Allergen Labelling can help the food buyer learn more about their food and make educated buying decisions.