Timeline: Allergen and Gluten Labeling Regulations
The following chart tracks the long history of Health Canada’s proposed amendments to Food and Drug Regulations 1220: Enhanced Labelling of Allergens Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites.
1990 Petition from Allergy/Asthma Information (AAI) patient group asking Health Canada (HC) for complete allergen labelling on food products.
1993 HC and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada formed a joint committee to develop a science-based list of foods causing severe allergies and sensitivities.
October 15, 1994 Pre-publication of a regulatory proposal in Canada Gazette, Part I, for mandatory label declaration of sulphites present in foods at a level ≥10 ppm.
March 11, 1996 Consultation document sent for comment to stakeholders (food and beverage industry, health professionals, patient & consumer groups) about proposed labelling of allergens and gluten sources.
March 31, 1998 Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued an advisory letter to food manufacturers, importers and distributors encouraging voluntary labelling of proposed allergen list.
1999 Common Allergenic Foods and Their Labelling in Canada-A Review, written by Zarkadas, et al. published in the Canadian Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1999:4:118-141.
2003 A Business Impact Test (BIT) commissioned by HC and CFIA to consult with industry on potential costs of implementing allergen labelling.
February 19, 2004 HC issued letter announcing: “Proposed Regulatory Amendments to Enhance Labelling of Priority Allergens in Foods”, to be published in Canada Gazette, Part 1, in mid-2004 and asking for stakeholder feedback.
September 27, 2004 Letter from HC to stakeholders that fining agents derived from milk, egg and fish used in standardized alcoholic beverages will be exempt from label declaration, but that labelling of priority allergens, gluten and sulphite would apply to beer and wine.
March 23, 2007 CFIA issued allergen labelling alert to industry.
June 2008 Allergy and celiac organizations support write-in campaign, led by Allergic Living Magazine, urging the federal government to pass food labelling regulations drafted by HC. Over 4000 letters sent to the Prime Minister.
July 22, 2008 HC issued letter urging manufacturers to declare major food allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites ≥10ppm
July 26, 2008 Minister of Health Tony Clement announced: “The Government of Canada is taking action to protect the health and wellbeing of Canadians with food allergies and celiac disease…these new proposed labelling requirements will provide Canadians with the information they need to manage their own allergies, and give parents greater assurance about the food they give their children who may have allergies.”
July-November 2008 Over 140 comments submitted from the food and beverage industry, consumers, patient groups, health professionals, and other governments, for review by HC.
March 11, 2009 CFIA issued reminder notice about allergen labelling.
June 2010 Health Canada’s Modifications to Schedule 1220 Regulation Amendments announced: Addition of mustard seed to list of allergens “Allergy and Intolerance Information- Contains:” statement to be changed to “Contains:” (same as USA). Fining agents derived from eggs, fish or milk used in the production of alcoholic beverages will no longer be exempt from labelling. Transition period for industry changed from 12 to 18 months.
October 2010-February 2011 Public awareness campaign begun by allergy and celiac associations urging government to pass food labeling regulations. To date, over 8500 letters/emails sent to the Prime Minister in support of regulations.
November 2010 Letters sent from allergy groups (Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Anaphylaxis Canada, AAIA, AQAA, Allergic Living), Canadian Celiac Association and Dietitians of Canada urging Minister of Health Aglukkaq to pass food labelling regulations.
December 16, 2010 Minister of Health Aglukkaq met with Anaphylaxis Canada representatives and provided assurance that regulations would pass in 2011.
January 2011 Minister of Health Aglukkaq issued letters to Anaphylaxis Canada, Canadian Celiac Association and Dietitians of Canada assuring them that regulations are top priority and will be passed in early 2011.
February 1, 2011 Letters from Dietitians of Canada urged the Prime Minister to pass regulations immediately.
February 2, 2011 Open letter to Prime Minister, Minister of Health, Minister of Industry, President of the Treasury Board & Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Minister of Agriculture, urging government to pass regulations immediately. Letter was signed by:
• Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
• Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation
• Anaphylaxis Canada• Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires
• Allergic Living Magazine
• Allergy/Asthma Information Association
• Canadian Celiac Association
• Fondation québécoise de la maladie coeliaque
February 3, 2011 Letter sent to the Prime Minister in support of passing food labelling regulations by Canada’s peak body of allergy, the Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Document dated: February 9th, 2011
Compiled by Shelley Case, RD