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Universal Meals: Food Everyone Can Enjoy

In the United States, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) holds that approximately two percent of adults and five percent of young children in the United States have food allergies and that eight foods account for approximately 90 percent of these allergies:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

Pursuant to this Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that these potential allergens be listed on product labels.1

Canada and the United Kingdom have similar lists, but add mustard, sesame, sulphites, triticale (a wheat-rye hybrid), and lupin (a bean sometimes added to flour products or eaten pickled).2, 3

Interested Groups

The following figures provide estimates of affected groups in the United States:

Vegetarian or vegan 5 - 10%, depending on age
Partial vegetarian 15%
Gluten intolerant or sensitive, or celiac 10%
Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu 4%
Lactose intolerant 10 - 90%, depending on race and age
Severe food allergies 5% of U.S. children

References

  1. Frequently Asked Questions about Food Allergies. fda.gov. https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAllergens/ucm530854.htm. Updated December 18, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  2. Food allergies and allergen labelling - Information for consumers. inspection.gc.ca. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/information-for-consumers/fact-sheets-and-infographics/food-allergies/eng/1332442914456/1332442980290. Updated July 13, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  3. Types of Food Allergy. allergyuk.org. https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/conditions-and-symptoms/36-food-allergy. Accessed February 12, 2019.