Unfortunately, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) does not cover foods regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulates meat, poultry, and egg products, including any mixed food products that contain over 3% raw meat, at least 2% cooked meat, or at least 2% cooked poultry.

The USDA FSIS is in the process of developing rules similar to FALCPA for food allergen labeling for meat, poultry, and egg products. In the meantime they allow, but do not require, voluntary allergen labeling. They do however require that all ingredients containing protein be included in the ingredient list by their common or usual name.

Unfortunately, the common or usual name of an ingredient does not always indicate the source of that ingredient. Common or usual names include modified food starch, maltodextrin, dextrin, glucose, and caramel. Unlike foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, if these ingredients are used in a food product regulated by the USDA, and they contain wheat protein, this fact does not have to be stated on the food label.

The good news…

The USDA encourages manufacturers to voluntarily list allergens on their product labels and they have widespread compliance. Nonetheless, unlike FDA-regulated foods, allergen labeling of USDA-regulated foods is not mandatory at this point.

For more information on the labeling of USDA-regulated foods, see the USDA’s Food Labeling Fact Sheets.

For more information on FALCPA, go to the Newsletter homepage at www.glutenfreedietitian.com and click on FALCPA.

Gluten-Free Labeling of USDA-Regulated Foods

Once the FDA’s final rule on gluten-free labeling of foods becomes effective, if a meat or poultry establishment chooses to make a gluten-free claim on their label they will have to follow the requirements set forth in the FDA rule. At this time the FSIS is not planning to conduct their own rule making on gluten-free labeling.

USDA Food Labeling