With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

20 February 2018

SmartLabel could revolutionize food label reading for those with food allergies

With the advent of SmartLabel, label reading at the supermarket is going to get much easier for those managing food allergies. Though SmartLabel is still in its infancy, we can see what is to come. SmartLabel is an app and tool developed by a collaboration between the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing institute. It provides additional product information when the QR code for a label is scanned with a cell phone camera or when a product is searched by phone or website with a computer. Not only does it provide ingredient information, but the product listings also provide information about shared equipment and shared facilities — precisely the types of information those managing food allergies normally have to call or write to customer service to inquire about.
Even better, the information available on SmartLabel is uploaded by the manufacturer itself and therefore is considered to be the most current informtion, even moreso than what is listed on the packaging itself. No more cross-checking lists from third parties, you will be able to zap that package at the supermarket and get the allergen information you need instantaneously, for top 8 allergens as defined by the FDA.
Since SmartLabel is a creation of the food manufacturing industry, just how much information is provided is up to the manufacturers. They already are going above and beyond what is required by FDA by providing voluntary allergen information such as shared equipment and facilities. We are hopeful that more products will contain voluntary warning information for shared equipment and shared facilities and that manufacturers will also choose to provide information about additional allergens outside the top 8. This type of information is so important to those managing food allergies. After all, avoiding one’s allergen can be a matter of life and death.
Consumers value transparency about ingredients and manufacturing processes. Food allergy consumers value it more than the typical consumer because for them, it is a medical necessity. Eating food containing the wrong ingredient can result in a life threatening allergic reaction. We have high hopes for SmartLabel and the opportunity it presents for transparency about ingredients and possible cross-contamination with allergens. If you or a loved one have a food allergy, please give SmartLabel a try, give them some feedback and encouragement. Also take a moment and visit their website at http://www.smartlabel.org/. It could be the next great food allergy tool. It would be great to see that happen.

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