If My Child Has Food Allergies, What Should I Look for When Reading Food Labels?

If My Child Has Food Allergies, What Should I Look for When Reading Food Labels?

My child has food allergieswhat should I look for when reading food labels?
- Alyson

Lea este articulo Carefully reading food labels is one of the most important things parents can do when their child has a food allergy.

Always avoid any food whose label says it contains your child's allergen. And keep these tips in mind:

  1. Check ingredient lists and look for advisory statements such as "Contains peanuts." Some companies also voluntarily share cross-contamination warnings, such as "May contain soy," "Processed in a facility that also processes shellfish," or "Manufactured on equipment also used for tree nuts." But manufacturers do not have to list cross-contamination warnings. Since products without advisory statements also might be cross-contaminated and the company chose not to label for it, it is always best to contact the company to see if the product could contain ingredients that your child is allergic to.
  2. In the United States, companies must state, in understandable language, if a product contains one of the eight most common food allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish.
  3. Know the limits of food labels. Not all allergens will be included in ingredient lists or named in a recognizable way. Sometimes, an allergen could be hidden in a long list of scientific-sounding ingredients or included in "natural flavors," "coloring," "spices," or other additives.
  4. Double-check every package of food you give your child — once in the supermarket and once before you give it to your child. This is important even if your child has had the product many times before. Ingredients and cross-contamination risks may change over time. Different size products may have different ingredients or be made in different facilities.
  5. Remember to check non-food items, too, because they're not subject to labeling regulations. Allergens may be found in cosmetics, bath supplies, cleaning supplies, sunscreens, art supplies, kitchen sponges, and gardening supplies. Look up any ingredient that you're not sure about, and call the company with any questions.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: April 2015

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.
OrganizationAmerican College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The ACAAI is an organization of allergists-immunologists and health professionals dedicated to quality patient care. Contact them at: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
85 W. Algonquin Road
Suite 550 Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(800) 842-7777
OrganizationAllergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN-MA) Through education, advocacy, community outreach, and research, AAN-MA hopes to eliminate suffering and fatalities due to asthma and allergies. AAN-MA offers news, drug recall information, tips, and more for treating allergies and asthma. Call: (800) 878-4403
OrganizationFood Allergy Research and Education (FARE) Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis.
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