Use the following information as a guide when you shop. Most products are labeled with allergen information in bold face after the ingredient listing on their package. Products containing corn do not have to list corn as an ingredient, so there is the possibility of hidden corn in many, many products. Fortunately, manufacturers in the allergy community are aware of this problem. Many of them will label corn as an ingredient even though the law doesn’t tell them they have to because consumers are demanding it.
It is rare instance, but also possible, that a manufacturer will incorrectly label a product as allergy free when it is not due to gross negligence. In these cases the government will step in and fine the company and possibly force them to remove allergen friendly labels from their products. Thankfully, in the past several years there have only been a handful of companies guilty of this practice. Often times they are local companies that produce ‘home-baked’ goods for consumers using either cross-contaminated equipment or even ingredients that contain the allergen.
There have also been rare cases when allergic reactions have occurred on properly labeled foods, and investigations have uncovered contaminated source products purchased by the manufacturer to produce the allergen-free food. So the underlying culprit in an accidental ingestion of a hidden allergen can be: an uneducated shopper who purchases a properly labeled package that contains an allergen, a negligent and uninformed manufacturer (ie: local bakery in your neighborhood) that doesn’t follow allergy safety guidelines, or a supplier that has not properly tested their product to make sure it hasn’t gotten cross contaminated with other allergens in their processing facility. Read the FDA's statement on the problem of cross contact and manufacturing.
Use this Guidebook as a shopping companion. When you are unsure or in doubt, call the manufacturer’s phone number on the label of the product you’d like to buy. Consult online allergy forums and local area support groups for additional information about products, too.
Please keep these things in mind as you shop for safe foods for your club and family.