The Aug. 4, 2012, effective date gives industry 18 months to implement the changes.

Canada Requiring New Food Allergen Labels

The regulations require specific allergens, sulfites above 10 ppm, and gluten sources be disclosed on a new label. They take effect Aug. 4, 2012, giving industry 18 months to implement the changes.

Prepackaged food products sold in Canada beginning Aug. 4, 2012, will have to bear a new label clearly listing common food allergens (such as peanuts, eggs, and milk), sulfites if above 10 ppm, and gluten sources, Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq announced last week. She unveiled the new label design while announcing the August 2012 effective date for the regulations published Feb. 16. The effective date gives industry 18 months to implement the changes and gives the public a specific date by which they will be in use.

"Our government is committed to protecting children and families from dangerous products, and this is clear from the measures we have taken in our new Consumer Product Safety Act," she said. "All parents want to have confidence in the food they are serving their families, and these changes to food labels will make it easier for parents of children with food allergies to identify potentially harmful, if not fatal, ingredients in foods."

Beer is exempt from the labeling regulations.

Food allergens and gluten sources will be listed using common words ("milk" or "wheat," for example), and mustard seed has been added to the regulatory definition of food allergen for the first time.

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are working with manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to ensure a smooth transition.

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