Here are some news from our dear neighbors to the North! After a decade of negotiations with allergy and celiac organizations including Anaphylaxis Canada and the Canadian Celiac Association, new Canadian food allergy labeling regulations were finally announced on February 14th.
The new regulations are specifically aimed at strengthening Canada’s labeling of food allergens and gluten sources to allow Canadians with food allergies, sensitivities and celiac disease to make more informed choices about the foods they buy.
The new regulations will require additional labelling and strengthen the labelling requirements to require clearer language and the declaration of otherwise “hidden” allergens, gluten sources, and sulphites. Because of the complexity of the changes and the shelf-life of foods, industry has been given 18 months to implement the new allergen labeling regulations. The new regulations will become effective on August 4, 2012.
While this is a great success for the food allergy and gluten-free community in Canada and shows that persistence pays off, the new law excludes beer companies from the new labeling restrictions. Even an open letter to the Prime Minister of Canada could not prevent this exemption. The Brewers Association of Canada successfully raised concerns about the cost of making labeling changes, especially those whose labels are painted directly on the bottles, as opposed to paper labels. They argued that the label changes will force them to state the obvious – beer contains wheat and barley.
We at Custom Choice Cereal congratulate our Canadian friends on their success (despite the exemption)! So what do you think? Can something similar be reached here in the US? Will it take us another 10 years to get this far? When will the FDA’s proposed voluntary use of the term “gluten-free” from January 2007 become a law?