FDA Plans to Make Allergen Inspections

As many as 6,000 food manufacturers can expect inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration, as the agency gears up to make sure ingredients that cause common allergic reactions aren't getting into food accidentally.

The FDA decided on the inspections, which would focus on candy makers, bakeries and other processors, after recently testing several plants in Minnesota and Wisconsin. One-fourth of the cookie, ice cream and candy makers tested had ingredients such as peanuts that weren't disclosed on product labels.

"We'd like to go out and see if that is true in the rest of the nation," said Kenneth Falci, an FDA official who briefed industry officials on the agency's plans at the Institute of Food Technologists annual conference over the weekend.

Training for the 2,500 inspectors will take up to a year and the inspections are expected to take two years to complete.