Product Labeling To Clearly List Allergens

Here’s an interesting story from The Wall Street Journal that should be good news those who suffer from food allergies.

In a welcome development for millions of Americans who suffer from food allergies, the House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill next week that will require food makers to label, in plain English, eight of the most troublesome ingredients: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. The eight account for roughly 90 percent of the nation’s food allergies.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously in March, and President Bush is expected to sign it into law. A few companies already label their food this way, but all would have to adopt the new practices by Jan. 1, 2006.An interesting tidbit for parents of autistic children is the new “gluten-free” labeling directive.

The legislation also instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to define what constitutes “gluten-free” food and how it might be labeled in the future. That’s a nod to the estimated three million or so Americans who sufferer from celiac disease, a digestive disorder that’s triggered by gluten, a common protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The disease causes a variety of symptoms including diarrhea, cramps and severe pain, and can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, osteoporosis and other serious illnesses.

Many autistic children have dramatic improvements when following a gluten-free/casein-free diet. Casein is also a protein and is found in dairy products such as milk, ice cream, cheese and yogurt.

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