WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration here said it plans to issue a guidance for the industry that should reduce the number of product recalls. The move came after an investigation found that, of 85 food manufacturers, one-fourth omitted common allergens like nuts and eggs from their labels.
"We are issuing an inspection guide to our field investigators that will focus on food allergens and tell them what to look for at a manufacturer to prevent cross-contamination," an FDA spokesman told SN.
In some cases, when an assembly line at a candy plant made peanut candy bars in the morning, and non-peanut candy in the afternoon, peanut residue was showing up in the products that were not supposed to contain peanuts.
In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in foods recalled from grocers' shelves for containing allergy-provoking ingredients that were not listed on the ingredients panel of the package.
Worried about the trend, the FDA enlisted the support of state regulators in Minnesota and Wisconsin to inspect food plants over the last two years, to find out the extent of the problem and correct it at the source.
The report, which was completed early this year, found that only a little more than half of the manufacturers checked their products to ensure that all of the ingredients were accurately reflected on the labels, the report said, making it that much more difficult for consumers to know which foods might cause life-threatening allergic reactions.