Food allergen bill introduced

Bills have been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and in the House by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to improve the labeling of foods known to contain an allergen.

Food manufacturers would be required to use legible typefaces, such as those used for nutrition labels, as well as the common and usual name of the food allergen. The labeling rules would apply to spices, flavorings, colorings, or incidental additives that are or contain a food allergen. These additives are currently exempt from labeling. Labels of products produced by manufacturers with annual gross sales of more than $500ꯠ would be required to include a toll-free telephone number for the company, while those grossing less than $500ꯠ could include a mailing address or Internet address.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest praised the legislation, noting that the Food and Drug Administration has taken no action on a food allergen petition filed in May 2000 by state attorney generals or a similar one filed by CSPI in October 2001.

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