Maryland Product Liability Lawyers: Hidden Allergens Leading Factor in Food Recalls


As many as 15 million Americans are living with food allergies, some so severe they can cause death. For these individuals and those that love them, the importance of proper food labeling cannot be underestimated. Still, undeclared food allergens are the leading cause of food recalls, as evidenced by a number of high-profile recalls in recent news.

So far in 2015, the U.S. has seen 121 food recalls involving more than 19 million food items. Ninety-six percent of the recalls were classified as Class I, the most serious type. While bacteria contaminates like Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli consistently make headline news, it is hidden allergens that result in the highest number of recalls.

Hidden Ingredient: Nuts

Early this year, a massive food recall was issued after cumin shipped from India tested positive for the presence of almond protein. The recall affected 14 companies and more than 150 products. Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts are a major cause of concern, especially for parents of young children. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can manifest quickly and may be severe, requiring immediate medical attention.

Hidden Ingredient: Milk

More recently, undeclared milk has topped the list of hidden allergens in food. Surprisingly, the bulk of milk allergens were found in beef products including beef jerky and meatballs. Several varieties of candy, gum and coconut milk powder were also recalled recently because they contained undeclared milk.

Reactions to accidental ingestion of milk may differ from person to person and depend largely on whether the individual has a true milk allergy or suffers from lactose intolerance. Signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance include digestive problems such as bloating, gas or diarrhea, and require different treatment than that of a true milk allergy. Typical allergy symptoms include itching, hives, coughing or wheezing, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, a milk allergy can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis. Milk is the third most common food, after peanuts and tree nuts, to cause anaphylaxis.

Hidden Ingredient: Eggs

Pinnacle Foods Group, maker of Wish-Bone Ranch salad dressing, recently recalled thousands of bottles of the popular product after it was discovered that they contained blue cheese dressing instead. Unlike the ranch dressing, the blue cheese variety contains eggs, posing a serious threat to anyone with allergies or a severe sensitivity to eggs. Egg allergy symptoms include skin inflammation or hives, coughing, runny nose and digestive symptoms such as cramps, nausea and vomiting. In rare cases an egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis.

Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Obtain Compensation for Those Harmed by Mislabeled Food Items

As a consumer, you have the right to expect that the food you purchase is safe to eat. Too often though, companies fail to properly label or inspect their products, causing unsuspecting victims to become ill from hidden allergens or food contaminated with dangerous bacteria. Maryland product liability lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are committed to holding these companies accountable for their negligent behavior. To speak to one of our highly qualified attorneys about a possible claim, call 800-547-4LAW (4529) to schedule a free consultation or submit an online contact form.