By Chris George
As a parent of a child with anaphylaxis – coping with severe, life threatening allergies – this February’s St. Valentines Day was especially sweet!
My family traveled to Ottawa this week to take part in an important federal government announcement concerning the labelling of allergens on Canadian food products.
Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that new labelling laws will ensure allergens are clearly marked on all food products. For the George family – and for thousands of families across Niagara Region – this means a great deal less stress when grocery shopping and at meal time.
The new federal regulations will strengthen the labelling requirements by insisting on clearer language and the declaration of otherwise “hidden” allergens, gluten sources, and sulphites. Minister Aglukkaq stated, “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.”
Health Canada estimates that approximately five to six per cent of young children and three to four per cent of adults suffer from food allergies. Nearly one per cent of the population is affected by celiac disease, for whom the consumption of foods containing gluten can lead to long term complications. Health Canada’s full release is here:
So, what is the significance of this announcement?
Families like ours depend on food producers and packagers to label contents correctly. Over the years, labels concerning allergens have been getting better. However, there are still times when the label is unclear and we are unsure. When food contents become a guessing game, our family rule is that we don’t purchase the product. For our son’s health, we need to be 100% sure.
These new regulations will make our shopping trips a lot less confusing. Clear, consistent, standardized labeling will make shopping a lot easier. When these regulations come into effect, our family’s shopping trips will be safer.
We were very pleased to have made the trek from St. Catharines to be with the Minister in Ottawa for this special announcement. We are proud of the role the families in Niagara played in lobbying for necessary allergen labeling. Thank you to the 4 Niagara MPs who support Niagara Anaphylaxis Knowledge and Support Group (NASK) and thank you to the Health Minister, who advanced these important new regulations.
Further photos of Minister Aglukkaq and the George family are posted here:
My full comments at the Ottawa announcement are on-line here:
Further information at:
Chris George is a resident of St. Catharines, Ontario and a member of the Niagara Anaphylaxis Knowledge and Support Group
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq speaking with the George family, Lisa, Chris and sons David and Alexander.
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