We all know that ingredients are substances that form part of a mixture which creates a food product. (You know what they are: eggs, milk, soy, etc....) But many people new to the food allergy world are lost on ingredient derivatives.
What are Derivatives?They are ingredients with possible hidden allergens because they are final products that first use a variety of other ingredients to be created.
The source items that are used to create the final food additive or ingredient are a concern to allergic shoppers. These derived ingredients can use different patented processes to be created. They can also use a variety of plant or animal sources to make the same end product, and labeling of their source ingredients is not always required. To see a list of food additives and what they are used for, visit Nutrition Data.
To simplify, let’s look at a common food ingredient: Gelatin. It is a colorless and odorless powdery ingredient. We have a specific name for it: gelatin. It comes from animal tissues and bones. It is a form of collagen. But gelatin can come from a variety of animal species and can come from various parts of the animals when they are harvested for the final end product: gelatin.
This is what is meant by the term derivatives. Shoppers need to be aware that certain products use many different source ingredients in their creation. A lot of the time it is a money factor for manufacturers. So a manufacturer that does not cater to people with food allergies may change their source for an ingredient and this could cause an inadvertent reaction in the allergic person who has been safely eating that product for years. There are countless derivative ingredients on the market that can be made with various source ingredients.