Food Allergy Labels for Cross-Contamination

Posted on July 09, 2014 by

While food packaging is largely driven by the official FDA rules, consumers and businesses are often a couple steps ahead of the game.

"Manufactured in a Facility That Also Process..."

One example of this has been the trend to include advisory allergen warnings about the facility where food products are manufactured. Maybe your cookies don’t have peanuts in them, but they might be made with the same equipment as another product or company that does use peanuts.

Some consumers have sensitive enough allergies that this would affect them, and they appreciate knowing such details. Facility allergens are not required by the FDA, but more and more businesses are listing them to be more transparent, and some local health departments even require them. They can be listed in any number of ways:

  • May contain ...
  • Processed in a facility that also processes ...
  • Manufactured in a facility that also processes ...

Optional, But Best Practice

The FDA rules around allergens do not require you to list facility and potential cross-contact allergens, but more and more companies are doing it to be transparent with their customers. Since we work with a lot of the companies that would care about this sort of transparency, we figured we would shed light on how it works and include the option in ReciPal as well.

The FDA does offer two nuggets of wisdom:

Advisory labeling should not be used as a substitute for adherence to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). In addition, any advisory statement must be truthful and not misleading.

It isn't too often that we read FDA documentation and want to pat them on the back, but this is spot on. Be thoughtful in your production process, and be truthful in your labeling. Words to live by for a food business.

Facility Allergens on ReciPal

Manufactured in a facility allergens

Since facility allergens are not required, you have to toggle them on. But then it's easy.

We already allow our users to create nutrition labels with the required FDA allergen information, so it was fairly straightforward to do the same for the facility level allergens. Since facility allergens are not required to be listed by the FDA, we don’t include this as a default in your label. However, it’s simple enough to add through our “Label Options” menu as you can see above.

We also have this facility allergen functionality for Canadian labels! These have slightly different rules around facility allergens, but should work just as well :)

Closing Thoughts

What do you think? Do you include facility allergens on your labels? Are you going to now? Do your customers ask about them? Let us know in the comments.

About Lev Berlin

Lev Berlin ReciPal SlantShack Author Bio

Lev Berlin is the founder & CEO of ReciPal. Having previously been a founder of SlantShack Jerky, he needed nutrition labels and simple tools to start and run the business. He's read the FDA food labeling code countless times in the process of creating ReciPal and helping small food businesses with their labels. He's reviewed and created thousands of food labels, and been a mentor and guest speaker at food incubators, food business courses, and regulatory conferences, like Brooklyn Foodworks and ICE.

After graduating from Princeton with an engineering degree, Lev was a management consultant, then founder or early employee at half a dozen startups. He loves nothing more than helping other small businesses get off the ground and achieve their goals.

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