Bill calls for more food allergen labeling rules

Sen. Ted Kennedy

Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) bill imposing new requirements for allergen food labeling did not get a mid-summer review as expected. Kennedy has said he will continue to push for passage of the measure this year, despite strong opposition from the food industry.

Various industry trade groups say the legislation is unnecessary and overlaps with current FDA authority. The legislation would require mandatory new product labels declaring all major food allergens in all food ingredients and strict limits on how allergens are listed.

In addition it would require: new restrictive mandates on allergen record-keeping and provide for government access to industry records; mandatory listing of a company telephone number, in addition to name and location of a business, on food product labels; no use of “may contain” terminology on labels after four years; and restrictions on a budgetary review of the bill’s economic impact on food processors. Industry representatives say voluntary efforts already underway have resulted in easy-to-read language about allergenic ingredients on food labels.