The CEO of Enjoy Life® Foods comments on a two-part Chicago Tribune investigation of how product mislabeling and lax manufacturing oversight can threaten people with food allergies.
CHICAGO, November 24, 2008 – The CEO of the country’s leading allergy-friendly and gluten-free food company today commented on a two-part Chicago Tribune investigation of how product mislabeling and lax manufacturing oversight can threaten people with food allergies.
“This kind of investigation is long overdue,” said Scott Mandell, President, CEO and Founder of Chicago-based Enjoy Life Foods, of the report, “Allergy Threat: A Tribune Investigation” (Chicago Tribune, Nov. 21 and Nov. 23, 2008). “The Tribune’s effort to shed light on the growing problem of mislabeled products and confusing or inconsistent advisory warnings is very positive. But, it’s also important for consumers to know that there are companies, such as Enjoy Life Foods, that follow extremely high standards for producing safe and accurately labeled allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods.”
“Enjoy Life Foods’ products are specially made for people with food allergies, food intolerances, Celiac Disease, Autism and other health concerns,” Mandell says. “We know how important it is for these people to have safe food choices and we take extensive precautions to protect our consumers,” he adds.
According to Mandell, that’s why Enjoy Life Foods has invested in a dedicated nut- and gluten-free bakery, requires all ingredient suppliers to complete extensive cross-contamination statements, assigns a risk rating to all incoming ingredients based on suppliers’ statements, and further tests specific ingredients to ensure strict allergen control standards are met. Additionally, all Enjoy Life products are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a third-party certification group. The GFCO follows a 10 parts per million (ppm) standard for gluten, which is lower than the proposed FDA standard of 20 ppm.
Complete and accurate product labeling is also an extremely important safety factor for Enjoy Life Foods. “We know it’s hard for people with dietary restrictions to find foods that they can safely eat. Food labels and allergen advisory warnings can be confusing and ingredient statements don’t always contain all the information they need,” Mandell says. “That’s why we go out of our way to make sure Enjoy Life Foods’ product labels are clear and provide the information our food-sensitive consumers need to make informed decisions about what they can and cannot eat.”
Just this past September, Mandell provided comments at a public U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meeting on the use of advisory labeling of allergens in foods, cautioning that current labeling regulations are not sufficient to adequately protect food-allergic, Celiac and other special diet consumers. The meeting was the FDA’s first step in developing a long-term strategy to assist manufacturers in using allergen advisory labeling that is truthful and not misleading, conveys a clear and uniform message, and adequately informs food-allergic consumers and their caregivers.
“Advisory warnings are confusing, inconsistent and do not provide adequate information in order for the millions of Americans who must follow special diets due to food allergies, food intolerances, Celiac Disease, autism and other health concerns to make smart and, most importantly, safe food choices,” Mandell told the FDA.
Until new, stricter FDA guidelines are created and enforced, Mandell warns food-allergic consumers to be vigilant but to rest assured that there are great tasting products, such as Enjoy Life Foods’, that they can eat safely and without worries.
Mandell offers these food shopping tips to people with food allergies, intolerances or other health concerns:
• Focus on companies that are dedicated to meeting the needs of special dieters, such as those with food allergies, food intolerances or Celiac Disease.
• Look for allergy-friendly and gluten-free products that are made in dedicated manufacturing facilities to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
• Read all food labels very carefully to determine what you can and cannot eat. Also, be sure to read the label every time you buy a product–label information can change frequently. If you have questions or are unsure about any information on the label, contact the manufacturer to address your questions and concerns.
Enjoy Life Foods offers 24 different products under the Enjoy Life brand name that are all free of the eight most common allergens (NO wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish or shellfish) AND gluten-free. Enjoy Life products are sold in natural food and conventional grocery stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.enjoylifefoods.com.
About Enjoy Life Foods
Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC (d/b/a Enjoy Life Foods, LLC (ELF)) was founded in 2001 with the mission of making great-tasting allergy-friendly foods that most everyone can eat freely. The company launched the Enjoy Life brand in 2002 with a broad product line that is free of the eight most common allergens and gluten-free. To meet the needs of a rapidly growing consumer base, in 2004 the company acquired Perky’s™, a line of gluten- and nut-free cereals. Today, ELF offers 29 different Enjoy Life and Perky’s products that are sold in natural food and select grocery stores throughout the United States and Canada. Visit www.enjoylifefoods.com and www.perkysnaturalfoods.com for store locations and more. In September 2008, Enjoy Life Foods was named to Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing privately held businesses in the U.S. for a second consecutive year. In November 2008, CEO, President and Founder Scott Mandell was named to Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 list. For more information, visit www.enjoylifenb.com.
Contact: Susan Schneider (847) 438-4465 firstname.lastname@example.org