Raising Awareness About Health Choices

Preserving the Fundamental Human Right to Health Freedom


Controversial FDA Temporary Policy has Serious Implications for Individuals and Families Affected by Food Allergies and Special Dietary Needs

August 24, 2020 5:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


By Maura Urchek BSN, RN

In a May 2020 U.S. Food & Drug Administration Guidance Document entitled “Temporary Policy Regarding Certain Food Labeling Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Minor Formulation Changes and Vending Machines,” the public received notice of radical changes to food labeling requirements in the US. The Docket Number for this Guidance Document is  FDA-2020-D-1139 and it was issued by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling.

The following article from Consumer Reports entitled “What the FDA's Relaxed Food Label Rules Mean for People With Allergies--The agency’s action is alarming consumers who rely on ingredient labels to stay safe” explains: “To avoid potential food-supply-chain disruptions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration announced last month that it has temporarily relaxed food labeling guidelines, allowing manufacturers of packaged foods to substitute certain ingredients without changing the labels.” 

As a result, many families affected by food allergies have had their worlds turned upside down.  The scrutiny of food labels is one of the primary actions individuals and their families can take to prevent ingestion of allergens.   

Allergic Living features the following article published on June 23, 2020 “FDA’s Relaxed Label Rules: Updates Fail to Silence Allergy Concerns,” which details the FDA’s temporary policy, subsequent public outrage, and the June 18th FDA posting of a new Q&A that includes additional recommendations. The author notes that the June 18th FDA Q&A has been met with varied responses from within the allergy community. For many, particularly those with non- “Top-8” food allergies, their concerns persist. 

Individuals and families affected by food allergies rely on truth in labeling to navigate their everyday food intake as a matter of survival. What is termed a “minor formulation change” could have not-so-minor effects for the highly allergic individual. Even before the 2020 quarantine, many individuals affected by food allergies are so sensitive that they must routinely limit contact in public, avoid touching doorknobs, decline common social greetings like handshakes and hugs, abstain from social gatherings with food, and avoid parks and public benches, all as a matter of necessity knowing that a severe allergic response could be provoked by casual contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.  These individuals and their families take great caution and follow stringent hygiene and food preparation protocols to minimize risk.  Is it acceptable for the FDA to permit relaxations in food labeling and, in essence, potentially expose individuals affected by certain allergies to unnecessary risk of contamination from the very food they ingest?  

Let your voice be heard by providing public comment to the FDA regarding the “Temporary Policy Regarding Certain Food Labeling Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Minor Formulation Changes and Vending Machines” at the following link:

https://beta.regulations.gov/comment/FDA-2020-D-1139-0009

2,992 comments have been received as of 11:59 PM 08/22/2020. 

(Source: https://beta.regulations.gov/document/FDA-2020-D-1139-0009/comment Accessed 23 August 2020)

References:

Peachman, R. (2020, July 7). What the FDA's Relaxed Food Label Rules Mean for People With Allergies. Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.consumerreports.org/food-labels/fda-relaxed-food-label-rules-and-people-with-allergies/

Smith, G. (2020, June 23). FDA's Relaxed Label Rules: Updates Fail to Silence Allergy Concerns. Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.allergicliving.com/2020/06/23/fdas-relaxed-label-rules-updates-fail-to-silence-allergy-concerns/

United States, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling. (2020, May). Temporary Policy Regarding Certain Food Labeling Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Minor Formulation Changes and Vending Machines: Guidance for Industry. Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/temporary-policy-regarding-certain-food-labeling-requirements-during-covid-19-public-health

United States, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (2020, May 22). FDA Announces Temporary Flexibility Policy Regarding Certain Labeling Requirements for Foods for Humans During COVID-19 Pandemic: Constituent Update. Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-announces-temporary-flexibility-policy-regarding-certain-labeling-requirements-foods-humans

United States, U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2020, June 18). Questions and Answers on FDA’s Temporary Policy on Food Labeling Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved August 23, 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/questions-and-answers-fdas-temporary-policy-food-labeling-changes-during-covid-19-pandemic

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Health Freedom Ohio. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethic, group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

We are proud to feature our business members. These are companies who are directly supporting health freedom in Ohio and we encourage you to support them by seeking out their products and services. It is a great way to close the economic loop and bring even more power to "voting with our dollars". When we support each other, everyone wins!

If you are interested in supporting our efforts and becoming an HFO Business Member, please see:

Join Us

Featured Business

Get the App, Stay Connected!

We are happy to announce that Health Freedom Ohio now has a mobile app on Android and Apple platforms! The app brings you upcoming events, legislation, articles, videos, features a business directory and much more, direct to you and without the censorship of Google, Facebook or email ISPs. 

We now have a means to stay in constant communication, so download and explore today! If you'd like to see any functionality added let us know and we'll do it if we can. Click below and look for the... 

image22

image23

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software