(NEWSnet/AP) — Federal regulators said Tuesday they warned Bimbo Bakeries USA to stop using labels that say products contain allergens, when they don’t.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that the company, which produces brands such as Sara Lee, Oroweat, Thomas’ Breads, Entenmann’s and Ball Park, listed ingredients, such as sesame or tree nuts, on labels, even when they aren’t in the food.

Under FDA regulations, such products are “misbranded,” FDA officials said in a warning letter sent to officials at the company’s Horsham, Pennsylvania, headquarters.

“Food labels must be truthful and not misleading,” officials said. The warning followed inspection in late 2023 at Bimbo plants in Phoenix and Topeka, Kansas, that make Sara Lee and Brownberry.

FDA officials indicated allergen labeling is a “not a substitute” for preventing cross-contamination in factories.

Advocates with Food Allergy Research & Education said such labeling “does a disservice” to 33 million people in the U.S. with food allergies. Those consumers must be aware of food that can cause potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, said Sung Poblete, FARE’s chief executive.

“Our community relies on accurate product labeling for their health and safety,” Poblete said in an email. “These findings about Bimbo Bakeries’ products undermine their trust and further limit their choices.”

In an email,Bimbo officials said they “take their role in protecting consumers with allergen sensitivities very seriously” and that they are corresponding with FDA to resolve the situation.

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