Allergen Labeling

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) was signed into law on August 2, 2004.

The law, which took effect January 1, 2006, requires foods containing milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, soy, and wheat, to declare the allergen in plain English on the ingredient list or by:

  • the word “Contains” followed by the name of the major food allergen (milk, wheat, or eggs for example); or
  • a parenthetical statement in the list of ingredients, e.g., “albumin egg”.

The law also required the FDA to develop and finalize rules for the use of the term ‘gluten-free’ on product labels by August 2008.

Mislabeled Products

If you believe that a product may be mislabeled or have another complaint regarding a food product, contact the FDA complaint coordinator in your area.

What should I include in my report?

  • Report what happened as soon as possible. Give names, addresses and phone numbers of persons affected. Include your name, address and phone number, as well as that of the doctor or hospital if emergency treatment was provided.
  • State the problem clearly. Describe the product as completely as possible, including any codes or identifying marks on the label or container. Give the name and address of the store where the product was purchased and the date of purchase.
  • You also should report the problem to the manufacturer or distributor shown on the label and to the store where you purchased the product.

Prescription Drugs and Pharmaceuticals

FALCPA does cover dietary supplements and vitamins. It does not, however, cover prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications. Individuals are encouraged to verify the ingredients on these medications by contacting the drug manufacturer, or through your pharmacist.