Food Allergen Ingredient Labels – Can They Be Trusted?
Peanut allergy puts a significant burden on peanut-allergic individuals as well as their families and decreases their quality of life. Reading every food ingredient label is essential in preventing a serious allergic reaction. Food labels stating “may contain trace amounts” or “made in the same facility” are trusted by families to protect their loved one from an allergic reaction.
However, ingredient labels may not be as accurate as people think. A recent article from a respected allergy journal examined the accuracy of food ingredient labels. The study found that there was “no correlation between the concentrations of allergens present.. and the precautionary allergen label.” Many products described as possibly containing allergen, in fact, had no or negligible amounts of allergen while other products did contain high amounts, even those with no allergen warning.
The authors of the study suggested that oral immunotherapy may be a solution. Oral immunotherapy has been shown to lower the chance of such an accidental reaction from cross-contamination for patients with peanut allergy by 90 percent. OIT increases the quality of life for allergic patients and their families by taking the anxiety out of the every day activity of eating. It has a high success rate and most individuals can be desensitized.