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Revised FDA Guidance on Allergens Clarifies Tree Nut Category

Nov 13, 2006

Revised FDA Guidance on Allergens Clarifies Tree Nut Category

The newly released edition of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) guidance regarding food allergens clarifies the agency's definition of tree nuts and provides a list of 19 nuts that should be included on labels as possible allergens if they are used in food products. Previous FDA guidance for ingredients covered under the Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) had identified only examples of tree nuts, leaving the category open to interpretation.

"This new edition is extremely helpful for members because it eliminates all uncertainty about which tree nuts should be identified as allergens on product labels," said Michelle Matto, IDFA assistant director of regulatory affairs. "We appreciate the FDA's efforts to clarify labeling issues as questions arise and new information becomes available."

The latest edition of "Questions and Answers Regarding Food Allergens" specifically identifies these tree nuts: almond, beech nut, brazil nut, butternut, cashew, chestnut, chinquapin, coconut, filbert/hazelnut, ginko nut, hickory nut, lichee nut, macadamia nut, pecan, pine nut, pili nut, pistachio, shea nut and walnut.

"Some of these nuts — such as coconuts — may not have been commonly thought of as allergens, so it's important to review product formulations and labels for ingredients that may contain any tree nuts on the new list," Matto explained.

Three additional questions and answers were added to the new edition. One question considers species of fish and shellfish for labeling purposes, and another reviews a question about species of wheat. The third clarifies the fact that single ingredient products are required to comply with the food allergen labeling act.

To read the new edition, click here.



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Posted November 13, 2006


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