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Natural Flavoring Can Contain Food Allergens
Natural flavoring is a "catch all" term used on food labels and merits special scrutiny for those of us reading labels for a food allergic child.
According to the current U.S. F.D.A. food labeling regulations,
"The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional."
The new labeling law effective in 2006, The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), requires manufacturers to declare if one or more of the 8 major food allergens are contained in a natural flavoring. The top 8 major food allergens are defined as: milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans.
If you are managing food allergies other than the top 8 major food allergens, however, the new law will not be of assistance to you in identifying the sources in any natural flavoring stated on a label.
Food and Drug Administration. (2004). Foods; labeling of spices, flavorings, colorings and chemical preservatives. In Food Labeling. (21CFR101.22). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access. Retrieved June 7, 2005 from: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/