Health Canada recently proposed new labelling regulations for prepackaged foods which would provide additional labelling requirements specific to food allergens, gluten, and added sulphites. The proposed amendments are stated to be important to the health and quality of life of Canadian consumers with a food allergy, celiac disease or a sensitivity to sulphites. In particular, the regulatory impact analysis statement states that the enhanced labeling requirements will provide essential information to allow consumers to make an informed choice about prepackaged foods.

Under the proposed regulations, food allergens derived from any of the following foods would have to be identified on the product label: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios or walnuts; peanuts; sesame seeds; wheat, kamut, spelt or triticale; eggs; milk; soybeans; crustaceans; shellfish; or fish. The gluten source would have to be indicated when the food contains any gluten protein from the grain of any of the following cereals or the grain of a hybridized strain produced from at least one of the following cereals: barley, oats, rye, triticale or wheat, including kamut or spelt. Sulphites, when either directly added to a food or when the total amount of sulphites present in the food is 10 PPM or more, would have to appear on the label. The proposed regulations would also require that the list of ingredients identify the specific sources of hydrolysed plant proteins, starches and modified starches, and lecithins.

For more information, please see:

New food labelling rules call for listing of allergens, gluten, sulphites

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/07/23/food-labelling.html

The proposed regulations are available at:

http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2008/20080726/html/regle1-e.html