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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
In this thread: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=5978 I mentioned that the long-sought allergen food labeling legislation has stalled.

Allergic Living is working with Anaphylaxis Canada, the Canadian Celiac Association, AAIA, AQAA, the CSACI and CAIFF to get these regulations passed.

Allergic Living learned that if the regulations don't pass by the end of the year, they will expire and the process - already a decade in the making - will have to begin again from scratch. As a community, we can't let this happen, we must speak up.

The groups mentioned have done their part with the letter in the next post, now it's your turn.

Please write to Stephen Harper, your MP and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq saying why these regulations are so important to those living with food allergies. If we don't have proper labeling, we don't know what's in our food.

If you've sent a letter by e-mail, fax or mail - let us know here to keep the momentum going. :thanksign

Template of a letter: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5988&p=34200#p34200
Read details about the regulations here: http://www.allergicliving.com/?p=177

Here is the contact info:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2
Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, P.C., M.P.
Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building
Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0K9
Telephone: (613) 992-2848
Fax: (613) 996-9764
Email: minister_ministre@hc-sc.gc.ca

For your local MP’s address:
http://bit.ly/9zujo9

Since Treasury Board is involved in this process so also cc Cabinet minister Stockwell Day:

The Honourable Stockwell Day
President of the Treasury Board of Canada and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Strategic Communications and Ministerial Affairs
L'Esplanade Laurier, 9th Floor, East Tower
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0R5
Telephone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995-1154
EMail: Day.S@parl.gc.ca

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
I'm writing my letter right now, thank you for providing the links.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
This is the letter (prepared by Anaphylaxis Canada) that was sent to the PM yesterday by: Anaphylaxis Canada, AAIA, Allergic Living, Canadian Celiac Assn, CAIFF, CSACI and AQAA.
Quote:

October 27, 2010

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2
By courier & email

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Please keep your government’s promise to Canadian families on food labelling regulations

We are a coalition of groups advocating for Canadians with serious food allergies and celiac disease.
We are very concerned about the stalled progress on important changes to Canada’s food labelling
regulations, changes which are eagerly anticipated by millions of Canadian families and could literally
save lives. After not receiving adequate assurances from the Minister of Health, we are now seeking a
commitment from you that these regulations will receive final approval before the end of the year, as
promised by your government in July 2008.

As you are no doubt aware, food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis and a growing public health
concern. Recent Canadian research estimates that food allergies affect more than two million people and
one in two Canadians know someone with a serious food allergy. An allergic reaction can range from
mild – such as a rash or hives – to the most serious – including difficulty breathing and sudden drop in
blood pressure. If not treated quickly anaphylaxis can be fatal.

With no known cure for anaphylaxis, avoidance of allergens is the only means of staying safe and
preventing a reaction. Accurate and understandable food labelling is therefore the first line of defence
for food allergic individuals. People with food allergies and those who shop on their behalf must be able
to make informed decisions based on food labels that are accurate, clear, and complete. The current food
labelling policy is not stringent enough to ensure such accurate and clear descriptions of food
ingredients on pre-packaged foods.

This is why our groups were so pleased to support – and salute – the federal government’s
announcement on food labelling by (then) Health Minister Tony Clement in July 2008. After a decade of
discussion with Health Canada officials, Members of Parliament and Government Ministers, it finally
appeared progress was being made when your government introduced new labelling requirements.

As the Minister said the day the proposed changes were 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."

Over the following months, many of us participated in consultation meetings with Health Canada. We
also facilitated opportunities for members of our community to provide feedback on what is officially
called the Proposed Amendments to Enhance the Labelling of Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added
Sulphites. Overall we were comfortable with the results of this consultation process and looked forward
to the amendments being enacted.

It is our understanding that a final draft of the proposed amendments has for some time been waiting for
government approval and publication in Canada Gazette Part II, and that there have already been three
extensions to the timeline for final approval. It is our further understanding that this approval must be
given by the end of this year, or the entire lengthy and costly process for changing Canada’s food
labelling regulations will begin again.

After more than a decade of discussion and more than two years since your government’s
announcement, it is now time to act.

Members of the community have been expressing their impatience to our organizations, especially given
the lengthy phase-in period (up to 2 years) for food manufacturers to adhere to the changes once they are
approved. Any further delays would be unconscionable.

We urge you to consider the continued health and food safety costs that will be incurred if the current
food labelling shortfalls are not addressed, including:

• Increased number of emergency department visits following accidental food exposure
• Limited access to safe, nutritious foods for a growing population afflicted by food allergy and celiac
disease
• Costly food allergen recalls because it is impossible to hold food manufacturers, importers and
distributors to standards that have not been clarified and are not mandatory.

As time is running out on positive changes to food labelling regulations, we urgently seek your
assurances that the last version of the proposed amendments will be approved as planned by the end of
this year. Millions of Canadian families are counting on your leadership – because these changes could
save lives.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
In July 2008, we were applauding the gov't:

Quote:
“This clearly affects literally millions of Canadians in one way or another,” Health Minister Tony Clement said in an interview with Allergic Living. “Either people suffering from allergies or celiac disease, or parents who are trying to do the best for their kids who have these kinds of issues.”


And a reminder of how much work AL readers put into this ...
Quote:

The new labeling requirements were announced in July by Clement, shortly after a campaign in which almost 4,000 people e-mailed a letter, posted at Allergicliving.com, to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The letter urged the government to champion the proposed new rules, noting their importance in the lives of millions of Canadians, and reminding that they had been ready but stalled since 2006.

While Clement didn’t expressly comment on the letter campaign, he did take the time in his address to “thank the moms and dads who have been pushing for this improvement.”


http://allergicliving.com/index.php/201 ... s-forward/

This really is a case of the gov't failing to live up to promises it made. We need to tell Mr. Harper - These regulations must pass. Make it happen!

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
Letter sent - here it is:

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Please keep your government’s promise to Canadian families on food labelling regulations.

Like almost 2 million other Canadians, our 9 year old daughter, M, lives with life-threatening food allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts. She was diagnosed with her allergies at 15 months of age. Her diagnosis was overwhelming for our family. It brought with it so many implications for our daily life. We had to quickly learn so much just to keep our beautiful baby girl alive and healthy. We had to learn about anaphylaxis, epipens and how to read food labels. It was a huge learning curve.

The medical issues were relatively easy to understand. Reading food labels at the grocery story was another matter. Kate can remember early on going into a grocery store shortly after the diagnosis and almost breaking down in tears thinking, “What can I feed my daughter?” Milk could be labelled using so many different terms. Eggs could also be labelled under a variety of names. Then there were the issues of cross contamination and component ingredients. Which companies could we trust to report their ingredients accurately and truthfully? We felt like we had to take a leap of faith each time we served a meal to our daughter. It was incredibly stressful grocery shopping then and it continues to be a very difficult chore.

In the eight years since M's diagnosis, little has changed to help allergic consumers at the grocery store. The current food labelling policy is not stringent enough to ensure accurate and clear descriptions of food ingredients on pre-packaged foods. As time is running out on positive changes to food labelling regulations, we urgently seek your assurances that the last version of the proposed amendments will be approved as planned by the end of this year. Millions of Canadian families are counting on your leadership – because these changes could save lives – our daughter’s life.



Please pass the food labelling legislation.

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
Powerful letter, Kate. A great example of the type of personal stories that really resonate.
The prime minister is a father, has asthma - and he's a politician so if we can get great numbers of letters ....

I'll write mine later and post it, too. But in case some of you need a reminder of the issues involved, this is the letter we sent to Mr. Harper in June 2008 in our write-in campaign. Feel free to borrow sentences from as needed.

The campaign letter:

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

You recently promised important changes to ensure that products labelled “Made in Canada” really are Canadian. I am writing today to urge you to address another area of food industry labelling that needs your immediate attention. At stake are the very lives of children.

The listing of priority allergens on food packages requires considerable improvement to protect over one million Canadians with life-threatening food allergies, most of whom are kids. Equally affected are thousands more Canadians with celiac disease. Currently, allergen labelling is only a set of guidelines; it needs to be enshrined in law, and it needs greater scope and clarity.

The good news is that change is easily accomplished. The amendments to the Food and Drugs Act that would rectify these labelling problems are ready and waiting; they’ve been languishing at Health Canada since 2006. Clearly, the food allergy community needs your help to finally get them passed. Just as you so successfully have done on the “Product of Canada” issue, [Select the appropriate description from this list] as the parent of a child with food allergies/as someone who lives with food allergies/as someone with celiac disease/as a friend or relative of someone with food allergies, I respectfully urge that you champion the food allergy label amendments.

Just how dangerous is life without them? While the proposed amendments would require manufacturers to list ingredients on labels in plain English or French, currently many companies list scientific names. Imagine having a child with a milk allergy and being expected to know that an ingredient called “sodium caseinate” actually means “milk protein”? Or with egg allergy, that “albumin” and “lysozyme” are actually “egg”. This is a risky business when even trace amounts can cause an anaphylactic reaction.

As well, there are mystery ingredients. Consumers can’t possibly know what allergens might be contained when a label lists “hydrolyzed protein” or “natural flavour”. Additionally, food packages often fail to declare when one of the top 10 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, shellfish, fish, sesame and sulphites) is a “hidden” ingredient – a component of another ingredient. This problem, too, would be addressed if the amendments were law.

Comments (up to 250 words) inserted here: Or cut this space.

The Canadian food allergy and celiac communities watched as the United States in January 2006 passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act and protected its citizens. All that we ask, Mr. Prime Minister, is that you do no less for us. Please make the food allergy amendments a priority for Canadian adults with food allergies and celiac disease, and for the many families and schools affected by the inability to depend on current food labels.

And do it for all the Canadian kids with food allergies, the ones who’ve grown up learning to read labels as soon as they can spell their names.

Sincerely,

Your name

cc Tony Clement, Minister of Health
cc Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture


FYI - The "languishing since 2006" line isn't so appropriate now; changes were made during the 18-month consultation process that finished earlier this year. But it is accurate to say that people in this community have been promised for a decade that these regulations would "soon" become law.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
Here's our e-blast we just sent out to the AL registry to spread the word.

Show Your Support: Food Allergen Label Law

Dear Friends,

Your help is urgently needed. We need your voice to tell the Government of Canada that it must pass the food label legislation that it promised 2 years ago.

This legislation would require all food package labels to clearly and thoroughly list the top 10 priority allergens and gluten among ingredients.

In July 2008, following Allergic Living’s write-in campaign of 4,000 letters, the federal government announced it would push ahead with new regulations. We all greeted this as great news.

After a long consultation process, the regulations were ready in February. But still they are not law, still there are no firm answers on “when” they will become law.

Now, Allergic Living has learned that the regulations will expire by the year’s end if not passed. This will mean starting the whole process – a decade in the making – again from scratch. This is unconscionable!

Please join Allergic Living, Anaphylaxis Canada, AAIA, the Canadian Celiac Association, and other concerned groups by writing a letter (send by e-mail or mail) to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Also send copies to the Health Minister, your own MP, and President of the Treasury Board. (Contacts are below.)

Your voice, and your stories of how important accurate food labels are to you and your family, will make a difference. Together, we can make this happen. The government must hear that this legislation is not optional – these regulations are essential, and will in fact save lives.

See further information on the food label regulations and this campaign here: http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/vie ... 174#p34174

Please get your friends and family to write, too. Thank you so much for your action and your support!

Sincerely,

Gwen Smith
Editor, Allergic Living magazine

Contact Information

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq
Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building
Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0K9

Telephone: (613) 992-2848
Fax: (613) 996-9764
Email: minister_ministre@hc-sc.gc.ca

Stockwell Day
President of the Treasury Board of Canada
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Strategic Communications and Ministerial Affairs
L'Esplanade Laurier, 9th Floor, East Tower
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0R5

Telephone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995-1154
Email: Day.S@parl.gc.ca

For your local MP’s address:

http://bit.ly/9zujo9

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:06 pm
Posts: 217
Location: Terrebonne, Quebec
Has anyone thought of making a facebook group to post and support this? If not i'm willing to set one up really quickly, it allows you to send the group to your friends, and the group can contain all information on how to write up the letters, people can join and pass it on, it may be a good way to get it more widely distributed to family.

I just need an OK and it'll be done..

_________________
Daughter 3.5 years) - Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Sesame, Beef; asthma and eczema
Daughter (2 years) - Peanuts Eczema
Son (7 months) - Contact allergy to something food undetermined


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
cauger - Think we've got that covered since AL's Facebook page is already in use on the subject.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-O ... 6974884797

Pls. feel free to use this page and keep raising this campaign, sharing the page or links, and re-raising it there as often as you want.

Given there's not a lot of time to get action - regs. expire in December - think we're better off using a page with close to a 1,000 members as a jumping off point. Sound OK?

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:06 pm
Posts: 217
Location: Terrebonne, Quebec
Well, i'm a tad dumb, I didn't even know that page existed.. *sigh* i'm out of the loop, university and work and kids is draining..

_________________
Daughter 3.5 years) - Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Sesame, Beef; asthma and eczema
Daughter (2 years) - Peanuts Eczema
Son (7 months) - Contact allergy to something food undetermined


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
I sent an email off to a reporter at our local newspaper to suggest that they cover this issue. I told the reporter that I would be happy to talk about what the regulations would mean to my family. Given the number of people with dietary restrictions today this story should be of interest to many people in our community. Our town is small and often it would seem that the newspaper has difficulty finding content! Hopefully they will pick up on the story.

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
Cauger - you are anything but dumb! We haven't publicized that page or this site enough. That's in our plans.

Kate, good idea. I forwarded info on to a couple of former colleagues at 2 bigger newspapers. Hard to know if it will get covered. But hope so - it's a good idea.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
My letter has been sent. I kept it fairly brief. My mom is almost more outraged than I am (and I'm pretty mad!) and has decided to fax in her letter....every day, until she hears what she wants to hear. Gotta love that!

I'm spreading the word. Let's do this people!

_________________
Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
My letter also has been sent. I tried to keep it brief but you all know me :roll: . In my first paragraph I say that I would appreciate it very much if they took the time to read my letter in its entirety. :lol:

*In the email yesterday from Anaphylaxis Canada they ask that if possible that all correspondence be copied also to them at also info@anaphylaxis.ca .

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
Perhaps we need to send letters to the leaders of the opposition parties. If the government is not following through on a public promise they made then perhaps the opposition might take up our cause.

I am also going to make a generic letter for my staff at work. All they will need to do is add their address and sign it. I will mail the letters individually over the course of the next week. I know that personal letters are better but the volume is important as well. I know that my colleagues and friends will support this but they probably don't have the time to write their own letters. I also plan to take copies to our extracurricular events this week. My goal is to get 200 copies of the letter in the mail in the next week or so.

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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