Shoppers With Food Allergies Can be Dangerously Fooled by Unclear Labels

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Shoppers are often confused by food labels that warn of potential allergens, and new research suggest the consequences can be serious. Lead researcher Dr. Ruchi Gupta is a pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She told UPI, “Up to 40 percent of consumers who either themselves have a food allergy or a child with a food allergy are purchasing products with precautionary allergen labels.” However, the researchers found that the most misunderstood food labels are those that say “may contain” or “manufactured on shared equipment.” Many survey respondents believed such messages meant the food was free of allergens–or at least significantly less dangerous than those specifically labelled as being allergen-free. Gupta says, “What we encourage our parents to do is try to avoid any food with any precautionary labeling if it has the food their child is allergic to.” She acknowledged that avoiding such products entirely can be very difficult.

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