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hamhead t1_j411d6h wrote

Yeah, this came out last month.

If companies are responsible for unintentional trace allergens then it’s easier to make it intentional and give notice.


funwithdesign t1_j414w7u wrote

I thought the easiest thing was to just put ‘may contain..’

That’s what I see all the time.


diagnosedwolf t1_j415cne wrote

Apparently, doing this isn’t enough. The companies are expected to do a full allergen clean before making a product without sesame in it, according to the article. Otherwise they’re liable if a person eats it and has an allergic reaction.

Honestly, I’d probably put some sesame flour in, too, under those circumstances.


onioning t1_j42d5cf wrote

To be clear, that's normal for the top allergens and the way it's been for decades. The difference here is that bakeries really didn't have to deal with it. They had wheat and soy which is in everything, and then they just avoid the rest of the top eight (now nine). Sesame is different because it's used for some baking but by no means ubiquitous. So previously bakeries didn't need full wash downs to control for allergens because each was either in everything anyway, or in nothing.

Just saying though. Full wash down between allergens is the industry norm and has been for decades.


Murderyoga t1_j41bncn wrote

It'd be like filling your Cuisinart with cyanide then being expected to turn around and make cookies.


hamhead t1_j42er4y wrote

If cyanide only harmed a relatively small percentage of people…


Murderyoga t1_j42fx89 wrote

I assumed that part went without saying.


hamhead t1_j42g49a wrote

Well, no, because the analogy makes no sense. One impacts everyone, one doesn't. So why make it at all if that 'goes without saying'.


onioning t1_j42cp4w wrote

Doesn't actually mean anything legally. It's a hedge. Basically discourage the at risk population from consuming your product just in case you fuck up. Provides no legal protection whatsoever.


spectre_ertceps t1_j42uztc wrote

so they aren't actually adding sesame, they are just saying they are? so now the label becomes completely meaningless?


onioning t1_j42vnpv wrote

If you add sesame it's listed in the ingredients. "May contain" doesn't add anything. It's a nominally true statement so it's permitted, but it is not an ingredient listing. If it says "may contain" but the ingredient is not listed then that means there's a cross contamination risk. Communicating that risk does not get them out of controlling for it.

Say you have a soy allergy. You eat a food that does not have soy listed as an ingredient, but does say that it may contain soy. As it turns out it does, you suffer health consequences, and you successfully sue the manufacturer. The presence or lack of a "may contain" statement makes no difference.


spectre_ertceps t1_j4329he wrote

my understanding was that if it says "may contain" you know that if you have a sensitivity you can eat it, but if you have an allergy, you can't

I don't remember seeing "may contain" in the EU, i remember seeing "may contain traces of" which is information rich, it lets you know that there was that allergen in the factory for some other product so if you have that allergy don't eat it


onioning t1_j432rcu wrote

That is the idea. The point is to discourage those who have the greatest risk. If you can stop people with allergies from eating your products in the first place any cross contamination will never be relevant.

>I don't remember seeing "may contain" in the EU, i remember seeing "may contain traces of" which is information rich, it lets you know that there was that allergen in the factory for some other product so if you have that allergy don't eat it

Those are essentially the same statements. Just very slight variations of syntax.

The important thing though is that these statements do not mean the producer doesn't have to control for allergens. In both the US and the EU they do. It's a hedge to reduce risk.


Chance_Wylt t1_j4311bn wrote

> and you successfully sue the manufacturer.

The hanger for me is the lawsuits wouldn't be successful at all. You were duly warned and proceeded right along anyway.I don't see any entitlement for compensation.


onioning t1_j432c2d wrote

You would be. It's a slam dunk even. Producers have legal obligations. When they don't meat those legal obligations it makes litigation extremely easy. In the eyes of the law they were not duly warned.

This is my actual industry. This isn't some hypothetical. It's one of the main ways that enforcement happens. There's inspection, which is more or less significant depending on what it is, but for most foods they rely on consumer action for enforcement. This scenario is actually super clear cut. Just need to have damages so you can have standing.

And it has to be this way too. Otherwise all food would contain a "may contain" statement and all the relevant regs about labeling and controlling contaminants would be irrelevant. You can't magic words your way our of not having to follow regulations.


GetlostMaps t1_j42lzvt wrote

It does in the Modern Developed World. Perhaps not in your litigious society? A clear warning is a warning. The consumer has to behave as a reasonable person would, and read the label. This is the case in the EU, UK, in most of the world in fact. My law degree is getting pretty old now, but it still works ok.


onioning t1_j42n4ao wrote

Not sure where you're talking about. Has no legal value in the US, the EU, or the UK. I'm unaware of anywhere that's different, and would be a small sum of money that no modern nation is different in this regard.

Also fun fact: the US is not especially litigious, instead being about par for the course.


hamhead t1_j42ell4 wrote

This change made that not possible


nihilfit t1_j41255t wrote

Love this example of perverse incentives. It should make people think twice about using statute to solve practical problems: such moves have to be thought out very carefully. Simple prohibition doesn't always do what you think it should.


onioning t1_j42eurf wrote

There is no prohibition here.

It also seems to me to unquestionably be the right move. That some bakeries move towards using sesame in everything is a completely acceptable consequence. Worth noting that the products made by such a bakery would have been unnaceptable for someone with a sesame allergy before it got added to the list, because of very real cross contamination risk. The difference is now people have a way of knowing that. Very definitely a good thing. Also very literally no prohibition whatsoever.

The problem was "how are people to know if there's a sesame risk?" Curious how you would solve that problem without resorting to regulation.


nihilfit t1_j45zoga wrote

I'm not arguing against regulation at all; I'm only noting how attempts to regulate can go wrong. In this case, we wanted to protect severely allergic people but ended up making their lives more difficult. And I'm not sure that it is correct to say "the products made by such a bakery would have been unacceptable for someone with a sesame allergy", because I'm not aware that sesame-allergic people were having allergic reactions to these products in the past (I'm not saying they weren't, only that I don't know that they were.) It's out of a cautionary principle that regulations concerning cross-contamination arose, not, I am thinking, out of empirical evidence of a certain number of cases of allergic reaction per unit of population. You're right that it is a good thing that people can now weigh the risks accurately, but that doesn't change the fact that, by including sesame in products that previously didn't have any, companies have actually increased the risks of inadvertent allergic reaction and reduced the number of products that sesame-allergic people have to choose from. Further, I'm not saying that the companies have done anything wrong. Rather, I'm saying the situation is very much like that of the cobra bounty in India (the so-called cobra effect.) Such effects point to the largely ignored issue of the effectiveness of legislative endeavors, however well-intentioned.


onioning t1_j47fipr wrote

>I'm not aware that sesame-allergic people were having allergic reactions to these products in the past

They were. That's the point. Previously there could be sufficient sesame present due to contamination that wasn't listed on an ingredients statement. That's a big ol problem for those with sesame allergies. They're unable to tell from a label whether a product is safe. Now there is a way to tell. That's better.

Contamination is a very real and substantial threat to people with allergies. This isn't hypothetical. People died before we had these regs.

For someone with a serious sesame allergy this change opens up more options they can reliably safely consume. They no longer have to seek out niche producers who controlled for sesame. Now they can reliably read a label and know if there is a sesame risk or not.

This is not a cobra situation at all. Producers putting sesame in products to meet the new standard was an expected outcome, and an acceptable cost. The goal of better communication of allergens is achieved.

Worth noting that these changes take a million years to happen and there's a very long comment period. This isn't something that folks just decided. It's been in the works for like a decade and a half.


sharrrper t1_j41yyno wrote

Heard all about this from my brother over Christmas. He has a 4 year old with a pretty significant sesame allergy. At first they were excited when this passed because sesame being officially a "major" allergen meant it would be required on food labels explicitly rather than potentially just part of "seasoning" or whatever.

The problem however, is that in order to not have to put sesame on the label, the companies are required to thoroughly clean production lines between different runs to ensure no cross contamination of sesame into products that don't contain it. Their solution to this has apparently been "fuck it, sesame is in everything now" and have just done things like add 15% sesame flour into their bread recipe and mark it on the label.

So now my nephew can eat almost nothing commercially produced safely.


onioning t1_j42eaf8 wrote

Just to add on, the alternative is to not use sesame products at all. No doubt some have chosen that route.


hamhead t1_j42ewhr wrote

Yes, but now you’re into niche production.


onioning t1_j42fpei wrote

Bakery products without sesame are not niche. It's hardly rare for a baked product to have sesame, but nor is it anywhere remotely ubiquitous.


hamhead t1_j42g6m1 wrote

No, but production facilities that don't deal with it at all *are* niche.

That might be a slight exaggeration but not by a lot. The facility would have to be set up specifically for this.


onioning t1_j42gien wrote

They're really not. They're the norm. Most production facilities only do a few things anyway. The large majority never used sesame in the first place.


gheiminfantry t1_j41kb4y wrote

“It was really exciting as a policy advocate and a mom to get the whole world to bend over backwards for my precious little angel. Now everyone is forced to acknowledge that he's special”

Yes, having allergies is real. The recent explosion of people with "food sensitivities" isn't caused by biology. It's exacerbated by accommodation.


monogreenforthewin t1_j41sme3 wrote

well that's not true, actual food sensitivity/allergy (not the "beans make me farty so i must have a sensitivity" crowd) is definitely biological. lol but where the sensitivity develops from into our biology is the question. is it chemicals were exposed to? is it parasites/bacteria/viruses that we no longer interact with that causes them to react poorly to certain things?

i remember reading an article several years ago that they were researching implanting/ingesting some kind of hook worm into people with peanut allergies because the chemical the parasite secretes actually alleviates the peanut allergy.


gheiminfantry t1_j41svo5 wrote

Ok. Completely not what I commented about. But you participated. Here's your trophy 🏆.


monogreenforthewin t1_j41udj8 wrote

> The recent explosion of people with "food sensitivities" isn't caused by biology.

your words. but thanks for the trophy


gheiminfantry t1_j421kvt wrote

You completely missed the word "recent" didn't you? If your reading comprehension skills don't increase Ima take back that trophy.


newbikesong t1_j41q4zd wrote

Well, there must be something they can eat.

It is not that of an unreasonable demand. Fat people have their large size brands. Besides, not every food needs eggs in it, for example.

I think there is market for a restaurant which serves specifically for food allergies. Would be expensive, but worth it.


gheiminfantry t1_j41qrml wrote

There's lots for them to eat. They can become amazing cooks like my vegetarian niece. They don't want to have any inconveniences, they want everyone else to bend over backwards for them.


sharrrper t1_j423gke wrote

>They don't want to have any inconveniences

"I might die" is a LOT more than an "inconvenience"


hamhead t1_j42faq3 wrote

Sort of. On an individual level you’re right. On a societal level is where the debate comes in. People can die from a lot of unique things. That doesn’t mean society “bends over” for them. In the majority of cases, they have to accommodate society rather than the other way around.

The question is where does it become societal problem - how many people does it need to impact - before that switches.


prefer-to-stay-anon t1_j444zw8 wrote

Given that 85 million Americans are living with life threatening allergies and intolerances (according to FARE, the biggest food allergy research and advocacy organization, seems a bit high, designed to shock you, but whatever), it seems like 25% of your population having an issue that can cause death without good information is a societal problem.

As for whether adding sesame to the "Contains" list is "bending over", hell no. We already do it for 8 allergens, what is the big deal with adding a 9th?

And don't get me started on the number and extreme lengths I have to go to in order to accommodate society for my food allergies. The only issue is that I have kept them so well hidden that most people won't notice.


hamhead t1_j44brvq wrote

Ok a few things - even if that number is accurate, that’s all allergens, not one specific one.

The contains list isn’t a problem. That’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about changing food to accommodate, or banning certain things, or other actions of that nature. We are talking about people not wanting the ingredient in the food because too many contain it.


prefer-to-stay-anon t1_j450n7o wrote

People vent on twitter. Its what they do. I have said many times on reddit that it is dumb that Ben And Jerry's dairy free flavors contain all the nuts. If you are making an allergy friendly option, make it allergy friendly.

But I know I am shouting into the void, I know the world isn't going to bend to my whims or medical needs, but that isn't going to stop me from complaining that I don't even have allergy friendly "allergy friendly" ice cream. These people are the same. The decision of the food manufacturer is making their life worse. They can't enjoy the things they used to, they can't enjoy the things they could if for a simple change, often a marketing decision. It sucks that their life is worse, just let them vent.


gheiminfantry t1_j444bbj wrote

There's a medical difference between sensitivities (my comment) and allergies (apparently everyone's interpretation). It's the difference between, "I don't like this" and anaphylaxis.


newbikesong t1_j41tdpb wrote

There is a reason not many people are vegetarian. It is a luxury.

Some bend-over is fine by me. Ban peanuts from school, whatever. They won't add much anyway. Have some gluten-free bread. Not every kid needs to drink milk. Don't plant flowers that attract bees, wasps etc... at public spaces. Have some "epi-whatever" medicine at schools just in case. Such is reasonable. They won't cost much.

Don't you think that every food having same basic ingredients is absurd? A bit exaggaretion but stil...


sharrrper t1_j422zze wrote

Hey asshole, you realize that people literally DIE from food allergies right? This isn't a minor inconvenience issue. This is "Please don't put my personal equivalent of cyanide into my food without telling me."


gheiminfantry t1_j443hej wrote

Hey drama queen asshole. I specifically say sensitivities not allergies for a reason. If your reading comprehension is this bad maybe you should take your manufactured outrage someplace else.


sharrrper t1_j444lq6 wrote

The article is about allergens. Maybe you should work on YOUR comprehension.


gheiminfantry t1_j445drd wrote

What's your point? My comment was a partial quote from the article with commentary, and food sensitivity. People are jumping on and downvoting me because they think I'm calling for people with actual life-threatening allergies to die. The conclusions these assholes jump to are amazing.


prefer-to-stay-anon t1_j445kpg wrote

Also, we require manufacturers to say if they put hemlock or carbon monoxide in foods, what is the harm with adding another common poison to the list which must be disclosed?