Food Allergen Labelling
For those with food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances, avoiding specific foods and ingredients is an important health challenge. An allergic individual coming into contact with an undeclared allergen such as peanuts in a food product may have symptoms that develop quickly and rapidly progress from mild to severe, including anaphylactic shock and death. For those suffering from celiac disease, the only current treatment is to maintain a strict gluten-free diet.
Please be advised that regulatory amendments published in the Canada Gazette Part II on December 14, 2016 will impact the way prepackaged foods are labelled. These amendments will affect :
The Contains statement and Allergen Precautionary labelling:
- the Contains statement (if used) will have to comply with legibility requirements as with the list of ingredients;
- when used, any allergen precautionary statements will have to appear immediately following the list of ingredients or the Contains statement if one is provided.
For more information please go to :
The Food and Drug Regulations require that most prepackaged foods carry a label and that the ingredients appear on labels in decreasing order of proportion. However, some ingredients used in food products which were previously exempt from declaration in the list of ingredients, (e.g., components of margarine, seasoning and flour) will now be required to appear on food labels also.
Based on consultations with stakeholders, including allergy associations and the medical community, Health Canada developed amendments to the Regulations to enhance labelling requirements for specific priority allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites in prepackaged foods sold in Canada.
Health Canada first published its proposed regulatory amendments in Canada Gazette, Part I, on July 26, 2008 to allow for public comment. Health Canada then took into consideration all comments received until November 28, 2008 before bringing the final regulations forward and publishing them in the Canada Gazette, Part II. For information on the federal government's regulatory process, on the Government of Canada Regulation Web Site
For more information on Canada's Food Allergen Labelling Regulatory Amendments, please see the following information:
- Government of Canada Announces New Labelling Requirements to Protect Health of Canadians
- Health Canada's Amendments to the Food Allergen Labelling Regulations
- Questions and Answers on the New Regulations to Enhance the Labelling of Food Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites.
- Summary of differences between the proposed regulatory amendments as published in Canada Gazette, Part I and the amendments being published to Canada Gazette, Part II: entitled "Enhanced Labelling for Food Allergen and Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites"
Due to the complexity of the changes and the shelf-life of foods, Health Canada provided manufacturers with 18 months to implement the new allergen labelling regulations. Health Canada continues to encourage industry to declare priority allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites on prepackaged food labels to provide Canadians with the information necessary to make informed food choices.
Beer products whose components respect the standards of composition for beer in the Food and Drug Regulations are considered "standardized". Such "standardized" beers are not required to carry an ingredient list. Standardized beer is always made from barley and or wheat, and is therefore not suitable for individuals with celiac disease to consume. Beer can also contain other allergens or sulphites depending on the individual product.
As previously advised by Health Canada, a food allergic consumer should always seek out products with a list of ingredients. This is also applicable to beer products. Health Canada also advises that food allergic consumers continue to contact the product manufacturer directly to determine the ingredients present within an unlabelled beer product.
- Health Canada Reviews and Answers Comments Received on Regulatory Project 1220 - Enhanced Labelling for Food Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites
- Health Canada's Modifications to Regulatory Project 1220 - Enhanced Labelling for Food Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites
- Health Canada's Revised Food Labelling Requirements for Added Sulphites
- Health Canada Considers Comments for Possible Exemptions from the Enhanced Labelling Requirements for Foods or Ingredients Derived from Food Allergen or Gluten Sources
- Garlic & Onions: Insufficient Evidence to Include on the List of Priority Food Allergens in Canada - A Systematic Review
- Health Canada's Proposal to Update the Canadian List of Food Allergens Requiring Enhanced Labelling
- Mustard: A Priority Food Allergen in Canada - A Systematic Review
- Proposed Exemptions from Food Allergen Declaration for Fining Agents and Wax Coatings
- The Canadian Criteria For The Establishment of New Priority Food Allergens
- June 2012- Canadian Food Inspection Agency tests for Fining Agents in Wine
- Health Canada is reviewing its policy on the use of food allergen precautionary statements on prepackaged foods.
- Consultation on Health Canada's Food Allergen Precautionary Labelling Policy Renewal - Summary of Comments from the Online and Face-to-Face Consultation Sessions
- Proposed Policy Intent for Revising Canada's Gluten-free Labelling requirements
- Consultation on Precautionary Labelling of Food Allergens
- New - June 2012 - Health Canada's Position on Gluten-Free Claims
- New - February 2012 - Health Canada's Position on the use of Food Allergen Precautionary Statements on Prepackaged Foods
- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued notices reminding food manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of their responsibility to ensure that the foods they sell are safe for all consumers, including those with food allergies.
- Information on Food Allergies and Intolerances
- Tips for Avoiding Common Allergens in Food
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