The Association of Food & Drug Officials (AFDO) has assembled an Ad-hoc Committee that has been charged with developing a guidance document for controlling food allergens in retail food and food service establishments. Volunteers from federal and state government, the retail food industry, industry trade associations, and the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) have agreed to participate in this effort.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), millions of Americans have allergic reactions to food every year. Although most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening. Several state food safety program managers approached AFDO about developing a guidance document and the organization has agreed to do so. AFDO hopes the guidance can be developed in time to distribute at its Annual Conference in June 2015.
AFDO President Stephen Stich said, "While there is no cure for food allergies, there are actions that can be taken in retail establishments that can protect susceptible individuals. Implementing plans in grocery stores and restaurants to effectively manage allergen risks will be the focus of the guidance document."