People with allergies and food sensitivities depend on ingredient labels to be accurate. Most are accurate, but occasionally labels do not clearly reflect what is in a given food, and the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) demands a recall if the manufacturer doesn't initiate one voluntarily.
For example, in the 60 days from March 19, 2007, to May 18, 2007, 12 companies recalled foods due to the presence of undeclared allergens on their labels. A few large recalls make national news, but the vast majority don't. That's why it's a good idea to sign up to get allergy recall notices as they're issued.
- In the United States, there are two options for receiving recall notices electronically. The first is by signing up for the official FDA Listserv, FDA-RECALLS-L, using this form. You can choose to receive individual e-mails, or a daily digest of list activity. Alternatively, if you regularly use an RSS reader to keep up with blogs or news, you can add the FDA Recalls News Feed to your reader.
- Canada's equivalent agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, offers a similar e-mail list and a collection of RSS feeds. The appealing feature of the CFIA's alert program is that it's broken down by the type of allergies the alerts apply to, so that Canadian consumers can select as many or as few recall lists to keep up with as they wish.