The Importance of Proper Labeling

After a producer has drawn up an Allergen Control Plan that addresses all of these considerations, they must label their finished products clearly and appropriately. Not only does improper labeling expose producers to legal liability and costly scandals, it also puts the health and wellbeing of millions of consumers at risk. The accuracy and comprehensibility of food packaging labels is paramount to avoiding allergen-related incidences.

While it’s tempting for producers to overuse precautionary allergen statements like “May contain…” or “Processed in a facility that…” the FDA highly discourages — and in some circumstances prohibits — the use of these statements as a substitute for proper production and labeling practices, and with good reason. When producers begin to treat precautionary allergen statements as a way to dodge legal liability, the number of food options available to consumers with food allergies drastically decreases. Consequently, these consumers may ignore such allergen warnings, taking on unnecessary risks for the sake of convenience.

Ultimately, it’s up to every food manufacturer to find a way to ensure the health and wellbeing of their consumers without compromising their bottom line. This task is undoubtedly complex, but with a well-considered, comprehensive Allergen Control Plan, every producer can maintain a food production operation that’s as efficient and cost-effective as it is transparent and cross-contamination free.

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