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When companies make labeling mistakes about allergens in foods

If you are one of the millions of people who deals with serious food allergies, you know that proper labeling is key to safety. Whether you’re allergic to wheat products or your child is allergic to tree nuts, you likely take special steps to avoid allergen exposure.

You may limit eating out at restaurants. In cases of severe allergies, you may avoid restaurants altogether. Grocery shopping can also be a difficult process. Every food and body care product needs to be carefully vetted by reviewing the ingredient list and the allergen warnings. It can be time-consuming, but with care, you can avoid an allergic reaction.

Of course, the success of that extra work depends on the accuracy of the labels on foods you’re considering. If a food does not disclose an allergen in the ingredient list or if there is cross-contamination with an allergen, you or your loved one could suffer a serious allergic reaction.

That’s why both Tyson, the chicken processor and Chef Boyardee, maker of canned pasta products, have recently recalled huge amounts of food products. Both companies made mistakes with allergen labeling that could result in a lot of liability if not addressed quickly.

Consumers rely on accurate information

Food allergies can be fatal. Eating something that was cross-contaminated or that contains an allergen can result in rashes, swelling in airways and even anaphylactic shock, which could be fatal if not quickly treated.

Medical costs and accidental deaths could result from poorly labeled products. Most likely, the manufacturer would be legally liable for damages related to unlabeled allergens causing severe reactions. That’s why companies would rather recall millions of pounds of product than take the risk of having consumers exposed to allergens.

Chef Boyardee and Tyson both omitted milk on the labels for products. Milk is a common and well-known allergen for some. Chef Boyardee has had to recall 700,125 pounds of canned pasta with meatballs under a variety of brands. Tyson has had to recall 2,485,374 pounds of ready to eat breaded chicken products. By recalling these products, which have shipped nationwide, both brands hope to prevent any issues with consumers. Stores and other retailers will likely return the items, as will consumers who may have already purchases the products without knowing the issue.

Of course, it is still possible for consumers to unwittingly purchase the recalled items and suffer a serious allergic reaction.

If you or someone you love has experienced a serious medical event as a result of a labeling mistake, you should speak with an experienced products liability and personal injury attorney. Your attorney can help ensure that you explore all your legal options after you or someone you love has been sickened by inaccurately labeled food products.