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Health Canada strengthens labelling regulations

Feds aim to strengthen consumer confidence with new food allergen labelling regulations


Ottawa – Health Canada has announced new regulations to strengthen Canada’s labelling of food allergens and gluten sources.

Leona Aglukkaq, minister of Health, and Royal Galipeau, member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans, made the announcement in Ottawa on Feb. 14.

The aim is to help Canadians with food allergies, sensitivities and celiac disease make more informed choices about the foods they buy.

Aglukkaq also unveiled how the new food label will look.

Leona Aglukkaq, minister of Health (left), and Dean Allison (second from left), member of Parliament for Niagara West-Glanbrook, announce regulations to strengthen Canada's labelling of food allergens and gluten sources. With them to make the announcement (but not pictured) was Royal Galipeau, member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans; Ron Cannan, member of Parliament for Kelowna -Lake Country; Chris George, representative for Niagara Anaphylaxis Support and Knowledge; Rick Dykstra, member of Parliament for St. Catharines; and Dean Allison, member of Parliament for Niagara West-Glanbrook.

The government estimates that approximately five to six per cent of young children and three to four per cent of adults suffer from food allergies. Nearly one per cent of the population is affected by celiac disease, for whom the consumption of foods containing gluten can lead to long-term complications.

The new regulations will require additional labelling and strengthen the labelling requirements to require clearer language and the declaration of otherwise “hidden” allergens, gluten sources and sulphites.

Because of the complexity of the changes and the shelf-life of foods, the federal government has given industry 18 months to implement the new allergen labelling regulations.

The coming into force date is set for Aug. 4, 2012.

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will continue to work with industry members to ensure that there is a smooth labelling implementation period for foods sold in Canada. Health Canada will continue to update Canadians on the progress of this as the coming into force date approaches.