Have you ever seen the cross symbol on a nutrition label and wondered what it meant? So what does the cross symbol mean on nutrition facts? The cross symbol on the nutrition labels is a warning that this product contains an allergen. The box will have the name of one or more allergens in it, like milk or peanut butter. This is a warning to inform people with allergies to avoid these products and the ingredients they contain. It’s important for those who are allergic to check these boxes before buying any food items at grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, etc. This way they can make sure they don’t purchase anything that would cause them to harm if eaten by mistake.
An allergen is an ingredient that causes hypersensitivity to a certain substance. These allergens can cause health problems for individuals with food allergies, including fatal reactions. People who are allergic to these ingredients must avoid them completely in order to prevent adverse reactions. There are 9 known allergens that have to be declared on labels if they are used as ingredients in food products. These allergens include milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soybeans, and their derivatives. Additionally, there is a 10th allergen which is added to the list in 2013 because of the increase in conditions related to food allergies. This allergen is sesame which must be declared on labels if it is used as an ingredient.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires manufacturers to label their products when allergens are present above specific thresholds. The tolerance level for these allergens is less than 20ppm (parts per million). These allergens can be found in processed foods and not all ingredients may contain the same concentration of the allergen. Therefore, any product that contains a certain ingredient must indicate if one or more of these allergens is present. The label should clearly state which ingredient(s) contain(s) this allergen, as well as the specific amount present. In addition to this information, manufacturers must list the source of the allergen if it is from a foreign source. It’s also worth noting that allergens derived from an animal may be different depending on what part of the world it comes from.
The “cross” symbol on food labels represents that the product contains one of more allergens. Without getting into too much detail, there are different types of “cross” symbols for different types of food allergens. For example, if a label says that it contains fish then the symbol would be an F for fishes. If soy is present in the product but not as an ingredient, then the symbol would be an asterisk with SOY. Therefore, these symbols are important for individuals who want to avoid certain types of allergens in their diets.
One of the most common allergens that are listed on nutritional labels is milk. Milk can be used to make a variety of food products, such as pizza, milkshakes, and cottage cheese. The most common allergen in milk is lactose. Other types of milk that may be present on food labels are non-fat milk, 2% milk, skim milk, and buttermilk. It’s important to note that any type of dairy product may be alright for an individual with lactose intolerance. These individuals should consult with their physicians before consuming any type of dairy product.
Some other common allergens include nuts. Everything from peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, cashews), soybeans, soybean oil, sesame seeds, or tahini. It’s also important to note that manufactures are not allowed to label peanuts or tree nuts as an ingredient if they are presently at less than 0.5g per serving. The manufacturer would have to list the type of nut, either peanuts or peanut-derived ingredients, or tree nuts or tree nut-derived ingredients. It’s also worth noting that products made in the same facility as peanut or tree nut products may also be at risk of contamination with peanuts or tree nuts.
Another allergen in foods that is common is eggs. There are many people allergic to eggs who have severe reactions if they were to ingest eggs. These individuals should consult with their physicians on how to stay away from products that contain eggs as an allergen.
A fourth common allergen is shellfish, which can be found in things such as shrimp and calamari products. If a person has a severe seafood allergy it may cause a life-threatening reaction. Although this is a common allergen, it is not commonly found in food products. However, there have been instances where crayons and balloons have been made from paraffin wax that was derived from shellfish oil. Ingesting these objects can cause severe reactions to those who are allergic to shellfish.
The cross symbol (or crosshair) on the nutrition labels is a warning to those who have allergies related to certain ingredients and substances not to ingest this product or to read the label carefully before they purchase or ingest it. If you are a person with any type of food allergy, it’s imperative to read the label before you eat anything with the cross on the nutrition facts.