USA – Federal food safety regulators have issued a warning to Bimbo Bakeries USA, a leading U.S. bakery, to cease using labels that incorrectly indicate the presence of potentially dangerous allergens.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors discovered that several Bimbo brands, including Sara Lee, Oroweat, Thomas’, Entenmann’s, and Ball Park buns and rolls, listed allergens such as sesame or tree nuts on their labels even when these ingredients were not present in the products.

According to the FDA, such mislabeling constitutes a violation of federal regulations, rendering the products “misbranded.”

 The warning letter, addressed to Bimbo Bakeries’ headquarters in Horsham, Pennsylvania, emphasized that “food labels must be truthful and not misleading.”

This warning followed inspections conducted late last year at Bimbo plants in Phoenix, Arizona, and Topeka, Kansas, which produce Sara Lee and Brownberry breads.

The FDA also highlighted that allergen labeling should not replace efforts to prevent cross-contamination in manufacturing facilities.

Sung Poblete, CEO of the nonprofit group FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), criticized the misleading labels, stating that they “do a disservice” to the estimated 33 million Americans with food allergies who depend on accurate labeling to avoid potentially life-threatening reactions.

 “Our community relies on accurate product labeling for their health and safety,” Poblete said.

Bimbo Bakeries USA, part of the Mexico City-based food giant Grupo Bimbo, claims to be the largest commercial baking company in the United States.

In response to the FDA’s findings, company officials stated they “take their role in protecting consumers with allergen sensitivities very seriously” and are working with the FDA to resolve the issue.

The scrutiny over allergen labeling intensified following a 2022 law that added sesame to the list of major allergens requiring disclosure on packaging.

To mitigate cross-contamination risks and associated costs, some companies began incorporating small amounts of sesame into products that previously did not contain the ingredient.

While the FDA acknowledged that precautionary statements like “may contain” certain allergens might be considered truthful, they advised that Bimbo Bakeries has until July 8 to rectify the labeling issues or justify why their current practices comply with FDA standards.

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