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Oct 9 – Health Canada Reviewing the Use of MAY CONTAIN Allergen Statements on Food Labels

Nexreg Compliance

From Health Canada:

Health Canada is reviewing its policy on the use of precautionary statements for food allergens such as “may contain …” and other similar label statements to provide better information to the consumer. These statements are used by industry to identify when priority food allergens may have unintentionally been introduced into foods during the manufacturing process.

It is estimated that as many as 1.2 million Canadians suffer from food related allergies. In addition, it is estimated that 1 in 133 people are afflicted with Celiac disease. For these people, a precautionary statement can be an important tool to help them choose foods that will not trigger their food allergy or sensitivity.

However, since these statements were first introduced in 1994, there has been a dramatic increase in their use and in the variety of statements being used by industry to identify the potential presence of allergens in food. Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have heard from consumers who have indicated that their level of confusion related to these statements is on the rise. This could lead to the statements being ignored and consumers eating foods that could trigger very serious and even life threatening allergic reactions.

The full release available from Health Canada. Nexreg will be watching this very closely, both for our clients in the food industry and for our CEO, who is one of the Canadians that is afflicated with Celiac disease.

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