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Soy Allergies

A Guide to Soy Allergies

Learning More About Soy Allergies:

Soy is one of the “big eight” allergens recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration, along with milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and wheat. A Soy allergy is one of the most common food allergies, particularly in children, but it can occur at any age.  

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of soy allergy can range from mild to severe and may include hives, itching, swelling, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction). Individuals with soy allergy may also experience allergic reactions to other legumes, such as peanuts, peas, lentils, and chickpeas, due to cross-reactivity between similar proteins found in these foods.

A glass of soy mlik, a plate of tofu, and dried soybeans scattered around these objects on a marble countertop
Soy As An Ingredient:

Soy can be found in a wide range of food products, including baked goods, processed meats, sauces, salad dressings, soups, snack foods, and infant formulas. It is often used as an ingredient in the form of soy protein, soy flour, soybean oil, soy lecithin, or soy sauce.  

Bowl of dried soybeans with loose dried beans spread around it on a marble countertop
Labeling Requirements:

In the United States, the FDA requires food manufacturers are required to label products containing soy or soy-derived ingredients to alert consumers with soy allergies. Phrases such as “contains soy,” “soy lecithin,” or “soybean oil” can be found on food labels.  

Cross-contamination labeling requirements:
Companies may, also, include the statement “processed in a facility where soy is used” on their product labels to inform consumers about the potential risk of cross-contamination with soy allergens. Even if soy is not an intended ingredient in the product, it may be present in the same facility where the product is processed or packaged. 

The reason for this disclosure is to ensure transparency and provide important information to individuals with soy allergies. Cross-contamination can occur through shared equipment, utensils, or processing surfaces, which may come into contact with soy-containing ingredients during the production process.

 

Conclusion:

While soy allergies are common in children, and many do outgrow it by adulthood, some individuals may have lifelong allergies. For this reason it is essential for those who are allergic to soy to continue avoiding it until advised otherwise by a healthcare professional.  

For food creators/manufacturers it is not only vital for the safety of your customers, but required by the FDA, to clearly label any product that contains soy as an ingredient or poses any risk of cross-contamination if soy could be present in the kitchen or manufacturing plant.

To test your product for soy contact us or learn more about our Allergen Testing.

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