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FDA seeks public comment on setting thresholds for the big eight food allergens

By Elaine WATSON , 14-Dec-2012
Last updated on 14-Dec-2012 at 01:07 GMT

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set up a  Federal Register Docket requesting data and other information to determine whether it can establish threshold levels for the 'big eight' major food allergens.

Currently, food and beverage manufacturers are required to declare the presence of eight major food allergens on pack in the US: Milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans, which account for 90% of food allergies.

However, clearly defined thresholds for the unintentional presence of these allergens would provide firms with action levels to work to, plus defined levels for enforcement, says the agency.

If safe thresholds can be established, the FDA says it could:

  • More effectively determine the appropriate corrective action to unintentional allergen contamination issues;
  • Better evaluate petitions and notifications for exemptions from allergen labeling;
  • Better respond to situations where undeclared allergens are found in foods;
  • Consider how thresholds might be used to improve consumer choices in the marketplace, while protecting sensitive consumers.

The agency, has set a deadline of February 7, 2013, for comments.

To submit comments electronically, click here , select “Submit a Comment” from the top task bar and enter docket number FDA-2012-N-0711 in the keyword space.

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