Food Safety Magazine

News | September 12, 2019

Trade Group Pushes to Remove Coconuts from FDA’s Food Allergen List

By Staff

Trade Group Pushes to Remove Coconuts from FDA’s Food Allergen List

The Coconut Coalition of the Americas (CCA) has announced plans to submit a citizen petition officially asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove coconuts from its list of allergenic tree nuts.

The citizen petition, known as the CCA Coconut Allergen Project, specifically asks for a revision in the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004 Guidance Document where coconut is identified as a major food allergen. CCA calls this categorization “incorrect.” 

CCA notes that the 2004 version of FALCPA only lists almonds, pecans, and walnuts as allergenic tree nuts. However, the 2006 FDA guidance document includes coconut (Cocos nucifera). CCA says this is inaccurate because coconut is not a tree nut—despite the fact that they do grow on trees, and that coconut is not actually a major food allergen at all.

According to FDA, there are more than 160 foods that can cause allergic reactions. Eight of these foods account for about 90 percent of all food allergic reactions. They are:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

In a review of Food Safety Magazine’s own records of U.S. food recalls, there were six recalls partly due to undeclared coconut-based ingredients between 2015 and 2018.

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