New legislation will reveal more allergens on food labels
COBOURG -- Stricter food labeling legislation will reduce the risks of potentially fatal allergic reactions, says a Cobourg woman who has spent the better part of a decade trying to ensure her daughter doesn't ingest any milk, eggs or peanuts.
The new Health Canada regulations which are targeting allergens including gluten and sulphites, don't come into effect until Aug. 4 of next year, but Kate Caldwell says her family is very "pleased and relived that the legislation has finally passed."
It will expand the food sources her daughter, Meaghan, 10, will be able to safely eat because there will be fewer doubts about hidden ingredients on packaged products or those potential allergens referred to by other names.
"We'll be more confident in the foods that we are buying," Caldwell says.
Many of the regulations her family and members of Anaphylactic Canada urged the government to adopt are included among of the new labeling legislation, she said. There is one significant disappointment, however, Caldwell noted, and that is that breweries are exempt.
"It may seem like a small thing" but specialty beers contain such ingredients as dairy and nuts, and one day Meaghan will be of drinking age, she said.
Between 5% and 6% of children have food allergies, as do 3% to 4% of adults, according to Health Canada.
"(Currently) 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,' states its website. "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."
For more information go to www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-et i q u e t / a l l e rgen/indexeng. php or call 1-866-225-0709.