Message from the Minister of Health – National Food Allergy Awareness Month – May 2019


Do you or someone you know suffer from food allergies? Approximately 2.6 million Canadians self-report having at least one food allergy. For some, the reactions can be serious and even life threatening. 

In the month of May, we recognize National Food Allergy Awareness Month to raise awareness about food allergies across the country and to help Canadians take steps to avoid allergic reactions.

In Canada, the key substances most frequently associated with food allergies and allergic-type reactions are eggs, milk, mustard, peanuts, seafood (fish, crustaceans, and molluscs), sesame, soy, sulphites, tree nuts and wheat. Milk, peanuts and tree nuts are the most common allergens in children while fish, shellfish (crustaceans and molluscs), peanuts and tree nuts are most common in adults.

If you have a serious allergy, your doctor may have prescribed an epinephrine or adrenaline auto-injector. Learn how to use it properly and carry it with you at all times. Family, friends and co-workers should also know about your allergies and symptoms and understand how to use your auto-injector. You may also want to wear a medical alert bracelet to let people know about your allergy in case you have a serious reaction.

To help Canadians make safer food choices, the Government of Canada requires that most pre-packaged foods clearly label the priority allergens in the list of ingredients when they are added. Food manufacturers may also provide a precautionary labelling statement (i.e., “May Contain”) when there is a potential of cross-contamination with priority allergens. These labelling measures help ensure that all Canadians with food allergies have the information they need to keep themselves safe.

Finding out what you are allergic to is an important first step in effectively managing allergies. If you think you might have a food allergy, visit your health care professional and get tested.

As Minister of Health, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about food allergies and the steps that you can take to help you and your family live healthy and safe lives. Find out more by visiting the Government’s food allergies web page.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.

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