Yesterday Owen and I saw the allergist regarding his latest RAST (more on that later). I asked a million questions as I usually do. In our conversation our allergist mentioned a recent study on all those packages out there that say "may contain trace amounts of peanut/tree nut." In the study they found that 20-25% of the time that was TRUE. I have always just thought "may contain" labels were CYA. To be on the safe side however I generally avoid products that say this.
I set out to try and find the study online and instead found a different one. It is from 7 years ago and labeling has changed since the Food Allergy Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) http://www.foodallergy.org/advocacy/labeling.html but it is almost more scary that there still could be cross-contaminated foods WITHOUT "may contains" labels.
"Based on what they found, the FDA and state inspectors collected 73 samples of foods they thought might contain peanut allergens, but which did not list peanuts on the labels as a possible ingredient, and 45 samples of foods they thought might contain egg allergens, but which did not list eggs on the labels as a possible ingredient.
Eighteen of the 73 products (25%) tested positive for peanut allergens.These included one ice cream, one donut, eight cookies, two cookie doughs, and six candy products. Five of the 45 products (11%) tested positive for egg allergens. These included three ice cream, one donut, and one cookie products. " (Reference: http://www.cspinet.org/nah/04_01/allergylinks.html)
I hate may contain labels. We recently lost one of our favorite treats due to a change in processing. MOON PIES! http://moonpie.com/allergy.asp