Consumers with food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances depend on accurate food labels to make safe choices. Effective food labelling is a key step in preventing food recalls due to undeclared allergens, gluten, or added sulphites.
In Canada, the responsibility lies with food producers and importers to ensure that products comply with food labelling requirements.
All priority allergens must be identified on food labels, either in the list of ingredients, or in a “Contains” statement immediately following the list of ingredients. If a “Contains” statement is used it must list all allergens present in the food, regardless of whether they are already in the list of ingredients. A complete list of priority allergens is posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.
Food recalls cost companies valuable time and resources, and put the health of Canadians at risk. You can avoid cross-contamination and mislabelling of food products by having an allergen prevention checklist and control plan. Here are some more ways you can manage allergens in food products:
• review all ingredients you use to determine if they contain allergens;
• establish procedures to handle products and ingredients that contain allergens;
• use effective cleaning methods; and
• teach employees about the importance of controlling allergens.
Food labels are vital tools for consumers and for the food industry too. Complying with food labelling requirements helps consumers see your company as a trusted brand.
The CFIA is committed to supporting businesses to understand what is required of them and what they need to do to comply with labelling requirements. Check out the Industry Labelling Tool for more information.
See A Tool For Managing Allergen Risks In Food Products to learn more about managing allergen risks.
This article was provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.