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Have you had trouble reading USDA food labels for top 8 allergens (milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish)? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Inspection Service regulates meat, poultry, processed egg products and certain foods that contain these products. These are not just the meats from the butcher case and include many other products:

  • Liquid, frozen or dehydrated egg products
  • Lunchmeats/cold cuts
  • Hot dogs and sausages
  • Canned or potted meat products (i.e. canned chicken, ham spread)
  • Canned soups and broths that contain meat (e.g., chicken stock, chicken noodle soup, beef vegetable soup)
  • Frozen foods that contain meat products (e.g., pepperoni pizza, chicken nuggets, meatloaf dinner)

Look for this type of mark on USDA inspected foods.

usda-lable-canned-meatSample USDA food label

AAFA needs your story about the challenges of reading these labels to submit to the USDA to prove the need for clearer allergen labeling for the top 8 allergens. Send us your examples of the following to

  1. Meat and poultry products containing undeclared top 8 allergens – these are foods where a) the allergen is not listed in the ingredients, and b) you confirmed separately that the allergen is present in the product

  2. USDA regulated food labels where a top 8 allergen is listed in the ingredients under an unusual name (For example, “casein” instead of “milk”)

Provide as much information as possible:

  • Images of the front of the food package label
  • Ingredients list
  • Any written correspondence with the company or test results confirming that a top 8 allergen was present
  • The exact circumstances of exposure, including how you knew a top 8 allergen was in the food
  • The effects of the reaction, including hospital stays, treatment received and any lasting health impacts

Thank you for assisting us with our advocacy efforts to improve food allergen labeling in the U.S.!

Join our community to follow our blog for the latest news on food allergy research and advocacy. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with others who manage these conditions for peer support.


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