Great question. Estimates suggest that 2% of the adult population and 5% of children younger than three years old have some form of food allergy. Our labels' allergy disclosure goes above and beyond what the government asks for, because we believe in being open with our customers — because we too, are consumers after all.
In the USA the US Government agency that overlooks foods and supplements is called the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The FDA REQUIRES that any product that contains what they call a “priority” food allergen, to have that allergen stated on the label as per the FDA standard, to assist those people who do have food allergies, in making an informed choice. That is the minimum standard. The same standard applies in Canada, under the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).
The priority allergens are:
A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-8 and comprises milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean. These "priority allergen" foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in North America and must be declared on any processed food [according to CFIA regulations and the US FDA's Food Allergen Labeling And Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)].
Listing what priority allergen foods that ARE in the formula, is the MINIMUM standard. And that is where most other food labels stop. We go one step further:
Going Above and Beyond The Rules
We typically add a 2nd sentence to our allergy warnings — we do not have to, and we do it voluntarily, to help inform those with severe life threatening food allergies. This 2nd sentence is not required, but we feel it is important that anybody who does have to go through life with a severe food allergy, should also know that our FDA and CFIA inspected facility also uses OTHER priority allergen ingredients in our facility, that may cause a food allergy reaction to those rare people with life threatening allergies.
Example: let's look at Organic Hemp Protein's allergy statement:
(1st sentence) — not needed as per CFIA and FDA rules, since there is only one ingredient in this formula — HEMP — and that ingredient is clearly already listed inside the list of ingredients.
(2nd sentence; voluntary)
FOOD ALLERGEN PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENT: PACKAGED ON MACHINERY THAT ALSO HANDLES THE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS, AND THIS PRODUCT THEREFORE INADVERTENTLY MAY CONTAIN: OAT, PEANUT, TREE NUT, SOY, MILK, EGG, WHEAT, BARLEY, CORN, SESAME SEED, SULPHITES.
That statement is NOT saying those other allergens ARE in the formula — that extra statement is merely there to inform those with life threatening food allergies, what other ingredients we package here. For an extreme example, if somebody could die from ingesting even 1 spec of peanut that somehow inadvertently floated into the hemp even if the risk was only a 1 in a million chance, it is imperative that THAT person, is armed with such information. We voluntarily choose to go above and beyond, so all our consumers can make a fully informed choice. Our CFIA and FDA inspected facility is GMP certified (Good Manufacturing Practices), so the odds of any cross contact between ingredients listed on the label and those not in the formula, is very slim indeed. We choose to volunteer this extra allergy information to our consumers — we think all other supplements should too.