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New food labels to indicate potential allergies in products
Published Monday, February 14, 2011 6:13PM MST
Grocery shopping will soon become easier for those with food allergies.
Canada's Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq announced Monday the new rules requiring food manufacturers and importers to indicate potential allergens in their products.
"Right now, the only way Canadians suffering from food allergies can protect themselves is to avoid ingredients that they know will make them ill," said Aglukkaq
All potential life-threatening allergies must clearly be marked on food packaging in simple text that is easy to read.
"If you have an anaphylactic allergy, you could end up in the hospital and you can even die, so that one ingredient that wasn't declared because it was in spices could end up in a trip to emergency" said Jay Bigam with Kinnikinnick Foods Inc., which sells gluten-free foods.
According to current food labelling regulations, ingredients must be listed, but their components do not. Meaning seasoning can appear on a food packaging label, without detailing exactly what spices it's made from.
The new rules require labels to include the warning statement, "Allergy and Intolerance Information -- Contains:" followed by whichever allergen it contains.
All manufacturers will have 18 months to phase in the new changes, making grocery shopping for those with allergies or food intolerances a little easier.
The ten priority allergens for Health Canada include tree nuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, sulphites and gluten.
Brewers are an exception to the new rule.
With files from Serena Mah and CTV.ca News Staff
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq speaks to the media in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011.