Reporting an allergic reaction that presumably occurred as a result of a mislabeled food product is very important. It is also extremely valuable to have the remaining product tested to confirm the presence of a suspected allergen. Findings will assist the FDA in tracking information about negligent manufacturers. It will also provide validation of the contamination for the manufacturer and hopefully result in a positive action. Fortunately, several resources are available that track this type of information.
Important Steps to Take After an Allergic Reaction to a Food Product
- Save the remaining product by securing it closed in its original packaging and wrapping in plastic wrap or a zip lock baggie. It will be important to secure the embossed or stamped product code for reference. This code will translate to the batch date/plant location. Be sure to keep any perishable product frozen or refrigerated.
- Contact the manufacturer to inform the company of the incident and the suspected allergen ingredient. They may request for you to submit a report. Record the date, time and details of the conversation. IMPORTANT. Do NOT deliver or send the product to the manufacturer if requested! Many times consumers are asked to return the product to be tested by the manufacturer and never hear of “results” of “ingredient testing”.
- Contact your local FDA office to file a complaint. Record the date, time and details of your conversation. You will be given a complaint number to document. To report problems, including adverse reactions, related to any food except meat and poultry, contact the district office consumer complaint coordinator for your geographic area. If the problem involves meat or poultry, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, call the USDA hotline at 1-800-535-4555.
- For ingredient analysis, contact the University of Nebraska’s Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP), the leading independent food allergy testing laboratory in the US. Please note, testing is FREE of charge only when an allergic reaction resulted from a mislabeled food product. FARRP will test the mislabeled food item for suspect allergen ingredients. Their testing and submission contact number is 402-472-4484.
This information was provided by Eat, Learn, Live (ELL), a not-for-profit foundation for food allergy awareness. They have sadly closed up, but we’ve updated this useful information that they provided.