House Passes Allergen Labeling Bill Plain English Ingredient Labels Will Benefit Millions of Americans

Sunday,May 26, 2013 @ 22:05

Washington, DC (PRWEB) July 22, 2004

Today the House of Representatives put the needs of consumers first by requiring food manufacturers to list the top eight allergens on food labels. The new provisions, part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), will ensure that persons with celiac disease and food allergies can read ingredient statements and easily determine if the product is safe to eat.

The American Celiac Task Force applauds the House leadership for recognizing the needs of consumers with life-threatening health conditions, and promptly approving this legislation. Under FALCPA, the top eight food allergens — milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, Crustacean shellfish, soy, and wheat will be listed on product labels by their common name. The bipartisan sponsorship of Senators Judd Gregg (NH) and Edward Kennedy (MA), and Representatives Nita Lowey (NY), and James Greenwood (PA), lead the bill to passage.

Rep. Lowey explains, “With no treatment for celiac disease, the only alternative is to follow a strict gluten-free diet — a difficult task considering that food ingredient statements are written for scientists, not consumers. When struggling to determine which foods are healthy, celiac sufferers should have adequate, clear information at their fingertips.

For the estimated 2.2 million Americans who suffer from celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune disorder, the bill provides an additional benefit. It requires the Food and Drug Administration to issue final regulations defining gluten-free by January 2008. The rules would also set out guidelines for the voluntary labeling of products as gluten-free. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that is triggered by eating the protein gluten, which is found in the grains wheat, rye, and barley. There is no cure for the disease, but it can be controlled through strict avoidance of foods and products that contain gluten.

The bill has clear benefits for food manufacturers, too. Manufacturers will find the activity on their consumer hot lines decreasing dramatically as they tell all on their labels. Full disclosure will make life much easier for everyone not to mention the goodwill this conveys to our respective customer bases, according to Beth Hillson, a celiac and owner of the Gluten Free Pantry, which is dedicated to manufacturing and selling gluten-free products.

Market shares continue to grow for mainstream companies, which began labeling for allergens years ago. As a manufacturer, we recognize that there is an extra cost and effort involved in making sure all packaging meets the new labeling requirements. We know from first hand experience it is well worth the effort,” said Max Lapin, co-owner and founder of PhillySwirl, a novelty ice cream company, in Tampa, Florida.

Just weeks ago, an independent consensus panel on celiac disease, convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), highlighted the need for standards for gluten-free food, and for national food labeling, further validating the need for FALCPA.

About the American Celiac Task Force

The American Celiac Task Force (ACTF) was established in March 2003 to provide leadership on public policy issues affecting those with celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune disorder affecting children and adults. Members of the ACTF represent the celiac research centers, national support groups, and food manufacturers, print media, and service industry. For more information, please visit the ACTF website at http://www.celiaccenter.org/taskforce.asp or call 703-622-3331.

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