Celiac.com 08/31/2012 - Since August 4th, 2012, Canadian Food Allergen Labeling Regulations require all food products containing gluten, or any of ten other major allergens, to clearly state their presence on the label.

Photo: Jefferson AdamsThis change marks an important step in consumer safety that will benefit the estimated three million Canadians with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, as well as others with sensitivities to major food allergens.

For people with celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause anemia, nutritional deficiencies, a blistering skin rash, and an increased risk of other autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes. It can also lead to some cancers of the gut.

One major problem for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is that, unless clearly stated on the label, it can be difficult to tell whether or not gluten is present in foods they may buy.

A 2009 Health Canada survey of approximately 7,000 people revealed that 96.1% of individuals read every ingredient on all food products to figure out whether the product contains gluten.

Nearly eighty percent of those surveyed said that their greatest challenge was with incomplete labeling.

For people who are sensitive to gluten and/or other major allergens, this new labeling rule will remove much of the guesswork from grocery shopping, and substantially reduce the risk to individuals sensitive or intolerant to gluten or other allergens.

Those risks include an estimated 14,000 emergency hospital wards each year that are the result of reactions to gluten and other allergens, which carry a projected $5 million in extra health care costs.

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