Allergy Friendly vs Allergy Free

Do you ever wonder why you never see the words allergy free on our products or website?

I began using the term allergy friendly about 6 years ago and ever since then have been correcting those who refer to Nonuttin’ products as allergy free.  While I can understand that like “gluten free”, it’s a quick and easy way to refer to products that are designed for those with food allergies, it doesn’t communicate the true reality of food allergies.

Often people refer to allergy free products as those that are completely free of the top food allergens in their country that food companies must label for in the ingredients.  For the US, this is 8 foods, for Canada, this is 11 foods  and for the UK, it is 13 foods as follows:

Top Food Allergies in the US:  peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, dairy, eggs, milk and wheat

Top Food Allergies in Canada:  peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, dairy, eggs, milk, wheat, sesame, mustard and sulfites

Top Food Allergies in the UK:  peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, dairy, eggs, milk, wheat, sesame, mustard, celery, lupin and sulfites

But, as many of us can attest, our family members may have food allergies that lay outside those top lists.  In my family, this includes kiwi and chickpeas.  It is quite possible that one might have a food allergy to any of our ingredients:  the oats we use, the raisins, the apples, the cinnamon… the list goes on. 

One allergy friendly company changed their “allergy free” logo to an “allergy friendly” logo after a parent fed their child one of the company’s products with an allergy free logo on it and that child had a reaction.  While the product was free of the top food allergens, the child was allergic to something else in the product and the parent had only seen the logo and did not look at the ingredient list at all.  While it is not the norm to not read the ingredient list, in this instance, the allergy free label gave that parent the false confidence that their child would not react.

So there you have it.  Allergy friendly it is.  What do you think?