Undisclosed Allergens a Serious Threat
In the course of writing this blog, I have made it a point to pay attention to food and product recalls through various sources. Recently, while scanning this month’s recalls on the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s site, I noticed a troubling trend.
So far this month, the FDA has posted announcements of several separate incidents where known and potentially dangerous allergens were not disclosed on a product’s packaging. I could say that we here in Georgia are lucky that none of the recalls are likely to affect us locally; however, two of these incidents involve products distributed in more than one state. In the case of the allergy alert which Pierino Frozen Foods Inc. issued on its Jumbo Shells with Cheese, the recalled product was sold in stores in Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Texas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida – essentially across the entire country.
Pierino Frozen Foods Inc. failed to include eggs as a potential allergen on the Jumbo Shells with Cheese’s packaging, putting people with allergies or intolerances to eggs in danger of reactions. So far, there has only been one confirmed allergic reaction to the undeclared eggs, thankfully mild, but this mistake could easily have resulted in a far more serious, potentially even fatal reaction in someone with severe allergies to egg.
Roughly 4 percent of adults in our country suffer from food allergies, and something like 6 to 8 percent of children. Food intolerances, which are less dangerous, are even more common. In people who have food allergies, exposure to even trace amounts of the allergen can result in an immune response. Symptoms of an allergic reaction could be from discomfort in the form of digestive problems or hives, to life threatening if the victim suffers from anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction which affects the whole body, and can cause a person’s airways to constrict. Also called anaphylactic-shock, anaphylaxis is relatively rare, but exceptionally dangerous, especially if left untreated.
The FDA requires manufacturers to list warnings for some of the most common potential allergens. While people can develop allergies to nearly any food, potentially, a few common foods make up the vast majority of life threatening allergies in adults and children. These allergens include: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, wheat and soy. While it is not required by the FDA, many manufacturers also list potential allergens which other products may have come in contact with.
These precautions may seem extreme to people who do not themselves have experience with severe food allergies, however they can be life saving for people who live with them. The most effective treatment for these people is nothing less than entirely avoiding the food that they are allergic to, making clear labels and warnings nothing less than a manufacturer’s responsibility to its consumers.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a recalled or defective product, contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer immediately. You may be entitled to compensation. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.