When I initially found out about my allergies, it flipped my entire world around. Besides the adjustment to the restaurants I visited, my family’s life at home drastically changed. I can remember one of the first trips to the grocery with my mom. We were there for hours!
To give you a taste of what it’s like to shop for food when you have allergies, I’ve given a few examples below of different labels. The key is to read every label, even if you think a product should be safe!
While food label reading is challenging and time consuming, manufacturers have made them a bit easier to comprehend. The food label above lists the ingredients found within the product. Below is an allergy information section. Depending on the severity of your allergy, you may or may not be able to eat something that is made in a facility with your allergen. For me, I wouldn’t be able to eat the product above due to it being processed in a facility with nuts. There is too much of a threat of cross-contamination.
Of course, one of my favorite labels to read is from Graeter’s Ice Cream! They use good manufacturing practices to avoid any cross contamination of peanut and tree nuts as you can see above. Yay for me!
I’ve learned that I need to be cautious when food labels do not list ingredients that “may be contained” in the product or “manufactured in the same facility” as allergens. While a company is legally required to list the top eight food allergens specifically found in a product, it is a courtesy to list allergens that may be cross contaminated with the item. The only way to find out the 100% correct answer is to call the manufacturer.
It sure does take a lot of trust when reading these labels! I hope this gives you some insight into my food purchasing process. It has certainly become easier over time, but it can start off very overwhelming and stressful. If you have any questions, please list them below!