Looking at food is it safe

To the food manufacturer out there on behalf of those they serve just two questions:

1. Should consumers trust your product labeling when allergen statements are ambiguous?

2. Should consumers trust a food does not contain an allergen precautionary statement over a food that does?

Unfortunately, the answers to these two questions are “NO” and “NO” Full Stop.

How can you trust allergen labels when they are vague and varied? Without uniformity and allergen precautionary statement are essentially, in my opinion, useless. When I speak in public and with food allergic consumers/parents I tell them to pretend those statements are not there. It is a harsh reality but one I stand behind strongly as I see this crazy system we have today in package labeling as way off base.

I strongly argue that these statements do not provide accurate information to people.  If a consumer packaged good, aka. CPG, does not have a precautionary allergen statement does that mean they are safe from allergens or as we say at MenuTrinfo, “Free From” those allergens by accidental cross contact over a product that claims to be made in a same facility that………. It just means that the food manufacturer has made a business and/or legal decision not to declare any potential for a cross contact.


And all of this is to comply with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. It’s simply a box for them to check or a way to keep the concerns of the cpg leadership team satisfied.  Consumers are seeing straight through this more today.

I gathered and listed below all the different precautionary statement i have seen since beginning the mission of helping consumers be able to trust packaging and cpg brands share the truth and clarity in food that is truly Free From with our “Certified Free From™” ISO 17065 accreditation. No guesses, no confusion just true transparency.

Here is a list of 31 different allergen statements found of retail packaging labels:

  • “Allergenic ingredients in facility.”
  • “Carefully baked in a nutty environment.”
  • “Made in a Facility that also processes (allergen).”
  • “Made in a facility that has all 8 major allergens presents at times.”
  • “Made on a line that also processes (allergen).”
  • “Made on a line that is mostly allergen free.”
  • “Made on a line that processes allergens.”
  • “Made on a line that processes multiple allergens.”
  • “Made on equipment that also processes nuts.”
  • “Made on equipment that may process soy containing ingredients.”
  • “Manufactured in a facility that processes [tree nuts], but not on the same equipment.”
  • “Manufactured in a facility that uses [egg] ingredients.”
  • “Manufactured in a facility which processes [egg].”
  • “Manufactured on equipment that processes products containing [peanuts].”
  • “Manufactured on equipment that uses [milk].”
  • “Manufactured on shared equipment…may contain [peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, milk…].”
  • “May contain (allergen).”
  • “May contain an occasional nut.”
  • “May contain peanuts, nuts and other allergens not listed on the label.”
  • “May contain trace amounts of nuts.”
  • “May contain trace amounts of tree nuts.”
  • “May contain traces of peanuts.”
  • “May contain traces of your allergen.”
  • “Not suitable for consumption by persons with an allergy to…”
  • “Processed in a facility that also processes (allergen)”
  • “Processed in a facility that uses [allergen].”
  • “Processed in a facility that allows nuts.”
  • “School Safe.”
  • “Vegan but may contain milk products.”
  • “Verified Allergy Safe.”
  • “While no nut products are used to prepare the ‘product,’ we cannot guarantee that nut products were not used in the animal feed.”

(NOTE When the word allergen is shown above in these statements, anywhere from one to all nine allergens can be listed)

The current state of precautionary allergen labeling needs to change. I am very strong on this statement but also in all I am personally doing to see that it does change in the industry.

Let me ask you…

If you are a consumer with food allergies in your family are you going to trust labels like these? Are you going to stake the safety of your family on these flimsy very confusing suggestions? Does the CPG industry want better for their customers? I personally know that the industry can do better. The consumer wants better. Needs better. Are screaming for better. Choose better. Time for us to #DoBetter.

Stay tuned for my next blog “Why Certified Free From™” is the right stuff for cpg …….