fda_logo

Why the FDA doesn’t really know what’s in your food – Erin Quinn and Chris Young

 A massive legal loophole means companies can add new ingredients to foods with no government safety review.

Rebecca Fattell was enjoying breakfast at a hotel in Berlin last summer when, after a few bites of a roll, her mouth started to itch, her gums started to hurt and before long, hives covered her skin.

“My face, trunk, arms, legs,” Fattell said, “they were all beet red.”

She rushed to the emergency room.

Fattell, who is allergic to peanuts, is vigilant about what she eats and had been assured by hotel staff that her breakfast didn’t contain any. Hidden in the pastry, however, was lupin flour, which is made from a peanut-related legume that caused her reaction.

“I’m extremely careful,” said the 23-year-old New Yorker. “I just had no idea about lupin.”

Lupin is considered a “major food allergen” in Europe and must be labeled accordingly on packaged foods. In the United States, where lupin is less commonly used, there is no such requirement, leaving Fattell and others who suffer from peanut allergies vulnerable.

Read more