Tag Archives allergen

The U.K. Food Standards Agency has opened a public consultation on labeling allergens on prepared food products. The consultation applies to foods “prepacked on the premises in anticipation of an order, before being offered for sale,” such as “fresh (uncooked) pizzas from the deli counter,” “boxed salads,” “hot foods such as rotisserie chicken or wedges,” and “foods that are pre-weighed and packed such as cheese or meats from a delicatessen counter or baked goods from an in-store bakery.” The consultation closes March 29, 2019. The New York Times also addressed food allergen labeling, asserting that regulations in the United States are incomplete. The author notes that label statements indicating the possibility of traces of allergens are unregulated, leading to inconsistent messages, and some common allergens are not noted at all, such as sesame.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested comments on "the prevalence and severity of sesame allergies in the United States and the prevalence of sesame-containing foods sold in the United States that are not required to disclose sesame as an ingredient." The announcement cites a 2014 petition submitted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest requesting a "rule to require that sesame seeds and sesame products be regulated in a manner similar to the manner in which major food allergens are regulated."

From the rise in food allergies to the changing economics of agriculture and animal husbandry, documentary series “Rotten” examines a range of factors that affect the food and beverage industry. Episodes include "Lawyers, Guns & Honey," which explores how foreign honey enters the U.S. market; "Big Bird," which documents the effects of JBS' purchase of Pilgrim's Pride on U.S. poultry farmers; and "Milk Money," which examines the benefits and risks linked to the sale of raw milk. The final episode, "Cod is Dead," details the effects of catch limits on commercial fisheries and reviews the case of Carlos Rafael, the "Codfather." Since the release of "Rotten," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reportedly sought to prevent Rafael and his businesses from reentering the fishing industry after he is released from prison.

A federal court has approved the settlement agreement in a class action against Quorn Foods, which has agreed to warn consumers that its products contain mold. Birbrower v. Quorn Foods, No. 16-1346 (C.D. Cal., entered September 1, 2017). Under the agreement, the labels will state, “Mycoprotein is a mold member of the fungi family. There have been rare cases of allergic reactions to products that contain mycoprotein.” The Center for Science in the Public Interest was not a party to the suit but filed documents stating it would object to any settlement that did not include disclosure and allergy warnings. The settlement does not preclude "any claims for personal injuries for those customers who may have suffered adverse reactions from mold allergies after consuming Quorn products,” the agreement notes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the approval of a qualified health claim that baby food with ground peanuts can reduce the development of peanut allergies. On the labels of foods suitable for infant consumption that contain ground peanuts, companies can now include the claim that "for most infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy who are already eating solid foods, introducing foods containing ground peanuts between 4 and 10 months of age and continuing consumption may reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy by 5 years of age." "The new claim on food labels will recommend that parents check with their infant’s healthcare provider before introducing foods containing ground peanuts. It will also note that the claim is based on one study," Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a September 7, 2017, statement. "The FDA will continue to monitor the research related to peanut allergy. If new…

A Tennessee federal court has ruled that a personal-injury lawsuit against Whole Foods Market can proceed because the plaintiffs did not plead that they were “practicing vegans” and therefore could not be expected to know that a vegan pizza product might contain nuts. Jones v. WFM-WO, No. 17-0749 (M.D. Tenn., order entered July 17, 2017). The plaintiff alleged that she bought two slices of “Vegan Garden Pizza” from a Whole Foods bakery, relying on the label indicating that the pizza “did not contain certain nuts and/or ingredients derived from nut products.” After her daughter ate the pizza and suffered an allergic reaction requiring hospitalization, the plaintiff called the store and talked to the department manager, who reportedly told her the pizza was “mislabeled” and that an employee had prepared it using a taco sauce containing crushed pecans. Whole Foods argued that the pizza was exempt from the warning-label requirements of…

Five public advocacy groups have filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking to vacate FDA’s “Substances Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) rule, which allegedly allows “potentially unsafe food additives to be used in the food supply (human and animal) without FDA review, approval, oversight, or knowledge, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).” Ctr. for Food Safety v. Price, No. 17­3833 (S.D.N.Y., filed May 22, 2017). The plaintiffs argue that the GRAS rule allows manufacturers to certify that a substance is GRAS without notice to FDA or the public, although the rule gives them the option to notify the agency about certification. However, they allege, the Food Additives Amendment to the FDCA requires food additives to go through an FDA approval process. FDA allowed manufacturers to begin using the proposed rule’s optional notification…

A Georgia court has dismissed with prejudice a complaint against television personality Mehmet Oz accusing the physician of making false claims about the quality of olive oil in the United States, finding that Oz’s statements were protected under a state anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) law protecting speech made in connection with an issue of public concern. N. Am. Olive Oil Assoc. v. Oz, No. 2016­-283156, (Sup. Ct. Ga., Fulton Cty., order entered March 3, 2017.) The North American Olive Oil Association alleged that Oz and his guests made “false statements regarding the quality and purity” of olive oil sold in U.S. supermarkets. One of the guests was employed by olive oil producer California Olive Ranch, but the guest’s ties to the company were allegedly not disclosed on the show. The court said it had “grave concerns that the motivation for the present action falls directly within the purpose…

A California federal court has granted voluntary dismissal to the plaintiff in a putative class action alleging P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. discriminates against customers with a gluten allergy by adding a surcharge to gluten-free dishes. Phillips v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., No. 15-0344 (N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., order entered June 6, 2016). The order granted dismissal to the plaintiff with prejudice but without prejudice as to the putative class, leaving the possibility that another plaintiff may step into the lead plaintiff role. The court also imposed the defendant’s costs on the plaintiff. Details on the complaint appear in Issue 555 of this Update.   Issue 607

Responding to public comments solicited in April 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued revised guidance for identifying, controlling and labeling allergens and other ingredients of public health concern through hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans, sanitation standard operating procedures (SOPs) or other prerequisite programs. Geared toward meat and poultry products, the guidance seeks to ensure “that product labels declare all ingredients, as required in the regulations, and that the product does not contain undeclared allergens or other undeclared ingredients.” See Federal Register, November 16, 2015.   Issue 585

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