Protecting people with allergies from new food’s unintended consequences

We hear a lot these days about innovations in food, especially with plant-based meats. What we don’t hear much about is that some new foods can cause serious, unexpected allergic reactions.

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), a nonprofit led by CEO Lisa Gable, is working to ensure that new food products coming to market are safe for the food allergy community. FARE is the world’s largest private funder of food allergy research advocating on behalf of the 32 million Americans with potentially life-threatening food allergies.

Lisa has served four U.S. presidents and two governors, counseled Fortune 500 CEOs, and represented global public-private partnerships and nonprofits with the goal of moving organizations to higher levels of performance. At Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, she created and led a coalition of food and beverage industry corporations and public health and government agencies resulting in the reduction of 6.4 trillion calories from the American diet. Her corporate experience includes serving as senior vice president of Global Public Policy at PepsiCo and 15 years in Silicon Valley.

During my interview with Lisa last week she told The CEO Show audience: “Plant-based foods represent a major breakthrough in food innovation and have environmental and health benefits, yet with all of this good news, these products may pose unintended consequences for the food allergy community. Pea protein, for example, is a common substitute in plant-based meats. While safe for many, because both peanuts and peas are legumes, plant-based meats have caused some consumers with peanut and legume allergies to experience life-threatening reactions.”

“As new products evolve,” Lisa said, “FARE hopes to work with industry to educate the food allergy community and ensure they have all the tools necessary to make informed decisions.”

Thank goodness smart business people are on the lookout for the law of unintended consequences.