Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Food Allergen Labeling Laws

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) (Pub. L. 108-282) required that new food labels for food products affected by the Act be applied to foods entering the market as of Jan. 1 2006.

Keep in mind, these labeling regulations apply only to foods regulated by the FDA. Also note, not all known allergens are covered by the new labeling laws.

Under FALCPA, a "major food allergen" is an ingredient that is one of the following five foods or from one of the following three food groups or is an ingredient that contains protein derived from one of the following:

- milk
- egg
- fish
- Crustacean shellfish
- tree nuts
- wheat
- peanuts
- soybeans

Also, in the case of tree nuts, the specific type of nut must be declared (e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnuts). Plus, the species must be declared for fish (e.g., bass, flounder, or cod) and Crustacean shellfish (crab, lobster, or shrimp).

Congress designated the above eight foods/food groups as "major food allergens" stating they account for 90 percent of all food allergies. Although there are other foods to which sensitive individuals may react, the labels of packaged foods containing these other allergens are not required to be in compliance with FALCPA.

FALCPA's requirements apply to all packaged foods sold in the U.S. that are regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act, including both domestically manufactured and imported foods. FDA regulates all foods except meat products, poultry products, and egg products.

For more information on the act, visit

For general information regarding industry labeling guidelines, visit