It is estimated that 2 percent of adults and about 5 percent of infants and young children in the U.S. suffer from food allergies. Approximately 30,000 consumers require emergency room treatment and 150 Americans die each year because of allergic reactions to food. As a result, the FDA enacted the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) in 2004.
Though phrases such as “peanut-free” and “egg-free” are not regulated, product labels can bear these phrases but be made in facilities where the allergens are present. Even though not regulated, identifying that the product is ‘free from’ is quickly becoming a popular choice of food manufacturers today. Griffin-Rutgers has many printer options for ‘free from’ labeling.
Besides “peanut-free” and “egg-free” consumers also want to know if their products are:
- Gluten free
- Soy free
- Caffeine free
- Sugar free
- Nut free (beyond peanuts)
- GMO free
- Fish free
- Dairy free
- Preservative free
- And many more
Consumers want to be able to look at the packaging and determine at a glance whether or not the product they want to purchase meets their dietary or lifestyle challenges. With the understanding of food allergies increasing, and consumers becoming more aware of the overall affect of certain ingredients on their health, demand for ‘free from’ labeling is on the rise.
Even within the rise of ‘free from’ labeling, there’s unique challenges being presented to manufacturers. Often, products that are being used to replace allergens have an allergen classification themselves. For instance, if nuts are being used to provide protein and fat content, or ingredients like eggs and milk are being used to bind ingredients together a product that is gluten free, then the ‘free from’ labeling needs increases.
As consumer awareness grows, and the desire of food manufacturers to have better traceability, it is likely that more front of pack claims will appear. At Griffin-Rutgers, we can put our expertise and knowledge to work to make sure that your labeling systems provide clear ‘free from’ labeling to meet your packaging needs.