New Rules On Labeling Food

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Food Allergy

Millions of food allergy sufferers in the United States will have a bit of added security in 2006 under new federal rules that require clear, no-nonsense labeling of products that contain common allergy-triggering ingredients.

"The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act," passed in the summer of 2004, will officially take effect on Jan. 1 after companies were given an 18-month head start to prepare. The law targets eight food groups that cause 90 percent of all food allergies, including milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, shellfish, wheat and soybeans.

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Dr. James Gern, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, can talk to reporters about the causes and prevalence of food-based allergies and the implications of these new rules. Gern is a national expert of childhood asthma and allergies and recently served on the Executive Committee, Section on Allergy and Immunology, for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A recent Food and Drug Administration study found that one in four sampled foods failed to list peanuts or eggs as ingredients on their food labels. About 2 percent of adults and 5 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from food allergies, and they cause roughly 150 deaths and 30,000 emergency-room treatments each year.

The complete act can be found at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/ dms/alrgact.html

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