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 :

December 2016 – Canada Gazette, Part II Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations — Nutrition Labelling, Other Labelling Provisions and Food Colours

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:

April 2023

April 2022

August 2021

August 2019

May 2017

June 2013

March 2012

February 2011

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.

Previous Updates

June 2010

August 2009

Other information

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