Q. What do the “May contain traces” statements mean on food and can my allergic child have them?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 26 February 2014.
Tagged: additives, allergies, allergy, food labels, label, nuts

Q. What do the “May contain traces” statements mean on food and can my allergic child have them?

A. The statement 'May contain traces of ..." is put onto food labels when manufacturers believe that the food is at risk of contamination from a problem ingredient such as peanuts or fish (called an allergen). This usually arises when nut-free biscuits, say, are baked on the same line as biscuits that have peanuts. Despite their best efforts to clean the production line, you can never rule out the chance that a small piece of peanut from one batch may accidentally get into another batch or dough.

The real risk of contamination will vary depending upon the manufacturer's reason for using the statement and is very difficult to interpret as a consumer.

Allergy specialists and organisations like Anaphylaxis Australia (www.allergyfacts.org.au) recommend you always heed the warning statements on these products. This is especially so if you or your child are at risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction. If in doubt about a product, always call the Customer Care centre of the manufacturers.

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Nutrition for Life 2020 Edition is a fresh new update on all the things you've read about or heard in the last year. Think insects, collagen, vegan eating, Keto dieting, vitamin B12, fast food and cafe culture.  It has plenty of colour pictures and is easy to dip in and out of. Grab your copy NOW!