Peanut recall affects Vermonters

A local non-profit agency, called Vermont Food Allergy Organization (VtFAO), responded to the current peanut recall by issuing tips to consumers that could be used to avoid peanut products affected by the salmonella outbreak.

So far, over 1,100 peanut products have been recalled.

Those that have a child with life-threatening peanut allergies are used to having to avoid peanuts. They are the experts in avoiding this food on a daily basis due to anaphylaxis that can occur within moments. For others, however, peanuts are a delicious food and a good source for protein and other important nutrients.

The Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act states that manufacturers must list their ingredient labels to clearly state on the product label any of the top eight allergens, peanuts being one of them.

Completely reading labels and looking for an allergen warning that includes either of the following: "Contains: peanuts", "may contain peanuts", "processed in a plant that produces peanut products", or "manufactured on equipment shared with peanuts", can generally be seen on ingredient labels. However, some products only list the allergen in their ingredient list without an allergen warning.

It is not required by law to have a separate allergen warning but that the ingredient is clearly stated in the ingredients listing.

"We would advise consumers avoiding peanut products at this time to read these labels to see if the product they may be purchasing has peanuts in the ingredients list or as an allergen warning," said MaryKay Hill, executive director of VtFAO. "Items that may be a source of peanuts are: chocolate, candy bars, bakery items, Asian foods, chili, sauces, marinades and dressings, sport and granola bars. Some pretzel sticks have peanut warnings due to being processed on the same equipment with peanuts, so the main key for consumers right now is to check and read the whole ingredient label on products being purchased. Consumers can also register with the FDA to receive recall alerts on products recalled or to check the list of products affected by this recall."

For more information, see www.fda.gov. If consumers need assistance with label reading, they can contact the Vermont Food Allergy Organization at 985-5050 or e-mail at vtallergy@myfairpoint.net.

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