From Health Day News:
Responding to concerns that food labels aren’t doing enough to alert consumers to the presence of allergens, or that the labels are just plain confusing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is hosting a public hearing Tuesday on what it can do to improve things.
“If you go down the candy aisle and you pick up any number of candy bars or other confectionery products, you are going to see a variety of these ‘may contain’-type labels: ‘may contain peanuts,’ ‘processed on shared equipment,’ ‘manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts or milk or whatever it is,'” said Anne Munoz Furlong, founder of The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network in Fairfax, Va. “Nobody knows what it means. Some 1/8labels 3/8 are completely ridiculous, and the result is that consumers are confused and are forced to have very limited food choices or take risks.”
“We would like to see all of the food industry adopt one set of criteria for using these descriptions and a limited number of those descriptions,” Furlong added. “There are about 30 different ways to say ‘may contain’ on the marketplace. That’s way too many.”…
The hearings are part of a “long-term strategy” on the part of the FDA to help manufacturers upgrade their labeling practices, making them both clear and truthful…
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) required new labels on packaged foods containing “major food allergens,” which were defined as milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans, or any other ingredient that contains protein derived from one of these foods or food groups.
More information available at the above link or from the FDA here .