TORONTO, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - Millions of Canadians affected by food allergy
and celiac disease are awaiting with trepidation the fate of proposed
food labelling regulations as the government continues to stall on
granting final approval. The changes, first announced in July 2008, are
now being publicly opposed by the powerful beer industry, putting the
fate of the regulations at risk.
The new regulations were created to make it easier for people to
understand food ingredient labels. As there is no way of predicting how
severe an allergic reaction may be and no known cure for anaphylaxis,
avoidance of allergens is the only means of staying safe. Food allergy
is one of the leading causes of potentially life-threatening
"People with food allergy and celiac disease have a right to know what
is in their food and beverages," said Laurie Harada, Executive Director
of Anaphylaxis Canada and herself the parent of a teen with multiple
food allergies. "This can quite literally be a life and death issue for
many Canadians. We urge the government to act in the public interest
and approve these regulations now."
The current policy is not stringent enough to ensure such accurate and
clear descriptions of food ingredients on pre-packaged foods. That's
why Anaphylaxis Canada supports the Proposed Amendments to Enhance the
Labelling of Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites.
While respecting industry concerns, Anaphylaxis Canada points out that
there have been extensive stakeholder consultations with Health Canada
over the past two and a half years and there will be an 18 month
phase-in process for the regulations. It is too late to amend the
proposed food labelling regulations; either the government approves
them or the costly and lengthy process will have to start over.
After twelve years of advocacy from the community for clearer food
labelling, these long awaited changes may now be at risk because of the
influence of private interests. If the current food labelling
shortfalls are not addressed, there will be continued health and food
safety costs, including:
More emergency department visits following accidental food exposure
Limited access to safe, nutritious foods for a growing population
afflicted by food allergy and celiac disease
Costly recalls because it is impossible to hold food manufacturers,
importers and distributors to standards that have not been clarified
and are not mandatory.
"The government announced changes to the regulations more than two years
ago but they have yet to be finalized," said Ms. Harada. It's time to
keep their promise."
Anaphylaxis Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping
those at risk for anaphylaxis and those who care for them. We are
committed to creating a safer world for people with food allergies
through research, education and advocacy. More information can be found
SOURCE Anaphylaxis Canada
For further information:
Principal, Empower Consulting
for Anaphylaxis Canada