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"Which Allergens Are in Your Food? You Can’t Always Tell From the Labels" - Eric Athas

  • The New York Times
  • New York, NY
  • (January 28, 2019)

Although federal law requires manufacturers to include allergen warnings on prepackaged foods, it’s not always clear which products contain allergens and which do not. The regulation doesn’t cover all types of foods, nor instances in which trace amounts of allergens may be present. “When you’re scanning the shelves, if you spot precautionary labels beginning with ‘may contain’ or ‘processed in the same facility as,’ don’t buy them if they refer to your allergy,” said Scott H. Sicherer, MD, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “You shouldn’t make risk decisions based on what precautionary words are used on the label,” added Dr. Sicherer. “But rather, to be 100 perfect safe, just avoid products that have the precautionary label, if that’s a food that you’re avoiding.” One way to simplify things is to seek out products made in allergen-free plants.

 — Scott Sicherer, MD, Professor, Chief Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Director, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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