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Meal Pattern Minute: May Contain Statement on Nut-Free Products

May 24, 2024

When searching for allergen-friendly food products, you are reviewing the product label to make sure the allergen like nuts is not added to this food. As you compare products, you notice that some have a label that says, “manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts” or “made in a nut free facility” or no statement indicated if the product was made in a facility that processes nuts in other products. Are all food companies required to report if a nut allergen is added to other products in the same facility as the nut-free product? 

 Get the answer in this Meal Pattern Minute, as Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, discusses this additional food allergen labelling. 

 There are many regulations surrounding food allergens and how manufacturers are to report them. Below you will find helpful resources to identify foods with the top nine food allergens. 

  • Have Food Allergies? Read the Label
    • "Contains" and "May Contain" Have Different Meanings  
    • If a “Contains” statement appears on a food label, it must include the food source names of all major food allergens used as ingredients. For example, if “whey,” “egg yolks,” and a “natural flavor” that contained peanut proteins are listed as ingredients, the “Contains” statement must identify the words “milk,” “egg,” and “peanuts.” 
    • Some manufacturers voluntarily include a separate advisory statement, such as “may contain”  or "produced in a facility," on their labels when there is a chance that a food allergen could be present. A manufacturer might use the same equipment to make different products. Even after cleaning this equipment, a small amount of an allergen (such as peanuts) that was used to make one product (such as cookies) may become part of another product (such as crackers). In this case, the cracker label might state “may contain peanuts.” 
  • Food Allergies – USDA Technical Assistance & Guidance 
    • FNS’s Office of Food Safety works collaboratively with the Institute of Child Nutrition to develop and provide food safety resources for child nutrition professionals including food allergy training and best practices fact sheets and posters. 
  • Webinar : Common Allergens and Reading the Food Label 
    • Discover the top nine food allergens and learn to recognize what food products contain these. Get a better understanding of how to read the food label to identify and avoid food allergens.  
      • Become familiar with the top nine food allergens. 
      • Learn how to read the Nutrition Facts Label. 
      • Identify food allergens from the ingredient list. 

Did you know that we have many recipes that are allergen friendly? Pay a visit to our Recipes & Menus page and find not only recipes but menus to provide new ideas to your menu. 

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