Individuals with food allergies in Canada will be happy to hear that Health Canada is making it mandatory for food manufacturers to label their products with specific allergens.
The new regulation will come into effect this Saturday (August 4, 2012) and will force manufacturers to list common ingredients which consumers can recognize on all food labels. For instance, instead of labelling a product with “hydrolyzed casein” the company’s will have to list “milk” as the ingredient.
Health Canada has identified 11 “priority allergens” which will all be included in these changes. These 11 ingredients make up 90 percent of allergic reactions in Canadians. The priority allergens include peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts and pine nuts), sesame seeds, soy, mustard seed, sulphites, seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish), glutens (oats, barley and rye) and wheat (as a food).
Consumers will now read labels and know exactly what’s in a product. For example, as CBC.ca points out, “if a product includes ‘spices,’ the label must list any allergens, glutens or sulphites contained in the spices.”
The new regulations do not apply to deli, bakery or bulk foods. They do not apply to beer as well.