By: Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, Chief Food and Product Safety Officer and SVP Food Safety, FMI

Food Allergen Resource Document cover

Think about your family, extended family and network of friends. Does anyone in your network have a food allergy? Chances are you know at least a few people with diagnosed food allergies. Approximately 6% of adults and 8% of children in the U.S. report being diagnosed with at least one food allergy.

Food allergies are a medical condition in which the body has an immune response to a protein or compound that is not typically harmful. Food allergies can be serious medical issues; reactions can range from a mild response to a severe reaction leading to anaphylactic shock and even death.

Customers with food allergies rely on the food industry to provide accurate allergen information on product labels to identify foods containing ingredients to which they are allergic. An accurate label is not only critical to informing the consumer of the contents of the item, but it is also a regulatory requirement. It is our responsibility to help food-allergic consumers identify foods containing food allergens through accurate labeling and providing notification when cross-contact is likely.

FMI has several resources for members to help educate employees about food allergies and help protect our customers. It is critical that food allergy awareness is part of your employee training program and part of your food safety training. Please make sure you have programs in place to verify the accuracy of the allergen information provided via the label for products you produce, products you repackage and products purchased from other suppliers.

For more information, contact FMI’s food and product safety team for additional resources.

FMI Resources: