Food Allergy Labelling: USA and EU

By Published On: September 30th, 2022795 wordsViews: 97
Food Allergy Labelling: USA and EU | Grain Free Mamas

When you have food allergies or sensitivities it can be overwhelming.  All food labels must be thoroughly read. Grocery shopping can feel like a a library trip, and that is if you can easily read the scientific terms used for ingredients!  But what if you can’t read them and know what they are…???


Food allergies and sensitivities are universal.  People from every country are affected.  It would be nice if all restaurants and food companies followed the same rules, right?

Well that is not the case, sadly.  In fact, different countries have different laws that even state what ‘common’ allergens are.  In the United States, the FDA says that there are 8 major food allergens.  They are milkeggsfishshellfishsoybeanswheatpeanuts and tree nuts. (Food Allergies)

In the EU there are 14 major food allergens.  “The 14 allergens are: celerycereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggsfishlupinmilkmolluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustardpeanutssesamesoybeanssulphur dioxide and sulphites (if the sulphur dioxide and sulphites are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).” (Allergen Guidance For Food Businesses)

Is it really that difficult to have one standard?  With all the travel and influx of people groups into different countries, it would appear that now is the time to work together as one to have one common standard.  The rise in allergen problems, autoimmune disease and food sensitivities has been alarming and no country is without its issues.

I really like the 14 common allergen standards that have been adopted in the United Kingdom.  It is a numbered system that is used by all restaurants.  The restaurants are also required to ask if there are any allergies upon seating.  The list of 14 is then provided and on the menu’s there are the allergens listed by number in parenthesis by the menu items. So, for example, next to a hamburger you might see (1, 7).  Here is the numbered list;

Fourteen key allergens which must be clearly identifiable by law:
1.  Cereals containing gluten
2.  Crustaceans
3.  Egg
4.  Fish
5.  Peanuts
6.  Soybeans
7.  Milk (including lactose)
8.  Nuts
9.  Celery
10. Sesame
11. Seeds
12. Sulphur dioxide and/or sulphites
13. Lupin
14. Molluscs

This is so helpful for people with food allergens and the like.  It helps them to feel like they are valued and that they can safely dine out.

Wouldn’t this be really useful in the United States and worldwide?

When I recently brought this topic up in a worldwide think tank meeting I was followed up with a person who said it was too expensive to implement.  I disagree, because the cost of health care in the medical services  needed due to those who have unknowingly eaten ingredients they are allergic to is much higher toll on countries and consumers.  Not to mention the cost of a human life for those who have a deadly allergic reaction.

Before we can go there, though, we must come to a worldwide agreement on one list of common food allergens.   In the United States, wheat is the only grain listed.  Also, coconut, which is a botanical fruit, is listed by the FDA as a tree nut.  In the UK, they only list cereals containing gluten.  These three differentiations are glaring to me. There is much evidence to support the reasoning that the grains, corn, rice and sugar cane (which collectively are all from the grass family) all cause an inflammatory response as well as blood sugar spikes and drops in humans.  Additionally, many many people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely consume coconut.

Yes, there are obstacles, but they can be overcome with persistence and cooperation.  The numbering system could also be employed on packaged foods, which would make shopping much less painstaking for allergen and autoimmune affected people.

While there is still much work to be done, there is hope.  Change is beginning to happen.  Many new companies are bringing new clean products to market, and governments are getting together to talk about food and nutrition.

Getting and staying healthy can be confusing.  So, how can you stay up to date?  Especially if you are new to this all?  Grain Free Mama’s can help.  We have created an online training course (How To Eat Healthy: Grain Free For Beginners) to give you the tools to make a difference in your life for health.  In this course we peel back the layers on the standard American diet and how it may not be in your best interests to eat this way.  Nutritional education will arm you with the knowledge to make healthy choices for you and your family.

Sign up here.

Margie Traxler | Owner, Grain Free Mamas

Written by Margie Traxler
Grain Free Mama’s is a FoodTech Consumer Product Goods company. We make gluten/grain/sugar free (Edible Grasses Free), dairy free and botanical nut free baking mixes that put the simple back into simply good for you. We also have educational resources to help you on your healthy eating journey. Margie, the Founder/CEO, received her B.S. in Biology from Portland State University. She has 22 years of experience as a successful Restaurant owner. She lives and operates her business in Henderson, Nevada.

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