WASHINGTON – The US Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comment on safe food allergen threshold levels.

The agency issued a request for information and other data in an effort to determine whether the agency can safely establish threshold levels for major food allergens. The FDA is seeking public comment until Feb. 7, 2013.

If safe thresholds can be established, FDA could:

• more effectively determine the appropriate corrective action to unintentional allergen contamination issues;
• better evaluate petitions and notifications for exemptions from allergen labeling;
• better respond to situations where undeclared allergens are found in foods; and
• consider how thresholds might be used to improve consumer choices in the marketplace, while protecting sensitive consumers.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protections Act (FALPCA) of 2004 identified eight major food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans. These items account for 90 percent of food allergies. FALPCA also requires food companies to label products that contain any of the eight major food allergens.