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FARE Calls on FDA Urging Prioritization of Food Allergies

New FDA guidance sparks major concerns for the 32 million Americans living with food allergies during COVID-19

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released temporary labeling guidance on May 22 to address COVID-19-related shortages, FARE has been working with Dr. Susan Mayne, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and her team at the FDA. We have held multiple meetings with the FDA as well as with key industry groups like the Food and Beverage Issue Alliance (FBIA) and have had conversations with more than 30 food companies and organizations. Watch the videos below for updates on what we have learned from these critical conversations.

Food Safety and the FDA Guidance: A Conversation with FARE and Industry Experts

On June 18, FARE hosted a conversation with industry experts discussing their thoughts on food safety and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent guidance, as well as how they are committed to providing safe and healthy food to 330 million Americans during COVID-19. This discussion will give you the inside perspective on what they are doing to protect and provide for the food allergy community. 

On Friday, May 22, The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put in place a “Temporary Policy Regarding Certain Food Labeling Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Minor Formulation Changes and Vending Machines.”  The new guidance led to an outpouring of concern from FARE and the 32 million Americans living with food allergies during COVID-19. Very aware of the fear and anxiety being felt from within the community, FARE called on the FDA to require food manufacturers to inform consumers of any changes to their products and product ingredients or formulations. We met with Dr. Susan Mayne (Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) and her team at the FDA on Thursday, May 26, 2020 and continue to engage in productive conversations with leaders at both the FDA and across the food industry.

FARE is asking the FDA to: 

  • Require food manufacturers to inform consumers of any changes to their products and product ingredients or formulations digitally including through their website, social media channels, SmartLabel®, and alerts on online retail shopping website (i.e., Amazon, Walmart, etc.).
  • Use labeling alternatives such as stickers, as mentioned on page 6 of the FDA’s guidance.
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“There are 32 million Americans living with potentially life-threatening food allergies and the challenges they face each day have been made worse during the pandemic with many media outlets continuously highlighting issues accessing safe, trusted and allergen-free food products. We understand that COVID-19 has been an obstacle for food manufacturers, too, through unanticipated shortages and supply chain disruptions to ensure products are available but the food allergy community relies on transparency and it is our hope that we can work together with FDA to find a solution that benefits everyone and ensures the safety of the food supply for those whose lives depend on knowing exactly what is in the products they are buying.”

-Lisa Gable, Chief Executive Officer of FARE

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