Clean Label: Commitment to Allergen-Free Products
The following foods or food groups are responsible for approximately 90% of food allergies among Americans:
We all love to eat and enjoy good food. Who doesn’t? But, while we might have a love of good food in common, our bodies don’t always react equally to the foods we eat. While certain foods don’t produce any reaction in some individuals, those same foods can cause abnormal activity in the immune system in others, creating what most call an allergic reaction. An allergic reactions occur when the body’s immune system misinterprets a specific food or protein as a pathogen (or allergen) with the potential to make you sick. The immune system then goes into defense mode, releasing bodily chemicals to fight off the intruders. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), there are up to 15 million Americans with food allergies, including 5.9 million children under the age of 18. About 30 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
An allergen is any substance that is recognized by the immune system and causes an adverse reaction. According to the Food Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), more than 160 foods have been identified as the cause of food allergies in sensitive individuals. However, only eight foods or food groups have been identified as responsible for the majority of food allergies among Americans and they account for over 90% of all documented food allergies. They are milk, eggs, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.
A true food allergy is different from a food intolerance of sensitivity. Food allergies cause a range of symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening, whereas food intolerances or sensitivities generally produces less severe symptoms and most of those symptoms are limited to the digestive system. Reactions to food intolerances occur when the body is unable to properly break down food either due to enzyme deficiencies or sensitivities to additives and chemicals in food. you are unable to properly break down the food.
Unlike food intolerance, which most people can handle and is not generally life-threatening, food allergies can be triggered even through simple contact or inhalation. Symptoms of allergic reactions include hives, itchiness, and skin inflammation to vomiting and diarrhea. The most severe reaction is “anaphylaxis”, which includes breathing distress or even loss of consciousness. Without prompt medical attention, anaphylaxis can even be fatal.
The best way to prevent allergies from flaring up is simply to avoid these common triggers. After all, you cannot have an allergic reaction to an ingredient you didn’t eat, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. As people with food allergies know, it is possible to have an allergic reaction without consuming any of the allergenic ingredients.
There are often many risks hidden in the ingredients, processing aids, and chemicals used in the manufacturing of foods and supplements. And unless special care is taken to avoid high-risk allergenic ingredients in formulations and to prevent cross-contamination with allergens during the production process, almost anything we ingest can be a source of allergic reactions.
Dietary supplements can produce an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals either because they contain ingredients from high-risk allergens like soy or peanuts, or due to cross-contamination with high-allergen ingredients during manufacturing. And although food intolerances and sensitivities are not generally life-threatening, their presence in dietary supplements can produce undesirable side effects.
At NutriGold, we know that consumers expect dietary supplements to be a safe and convenient approach to health management. This expectations of safety demands that manufacturers pay attention to active ingredients and additives, and ensure that products are manufactured in compliance with best practices for avoiding allergens and minimizing cross-contamination risk. It is also important that allergens, if present, are declared accurately and transparently on product labels so consumers can purchase the products that best meet their needs.
Given that approximately 50% of the U.S. population routinely takes a dietary supplement and ingredients derived from allergenic foods are routinely present as an active ingredient or additive in a number of them, we voluntarily perform a six-step allergen verification process to ensure that our products are safe for even the most vulnerable members of our population. This comprehensive verification process allows us to offer customers the cleanest products possible, regardless of whether they have allergies or not. And as a consumer-centric, quality-conscious company, we are committed to doing everything we can to stay true to our fundamental guiding principle to “do no harm.”
Our Six-Step Allergen Verification Program
- Robyn O’Brien (The Food Revolution Network)