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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Brewers Get Exemption From Allergy Label Rules

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: CC-jaygoldman

    Celiac.com 04/06/2011 - The Canadian brewing industry caught a break when their products were exempted from new allergy labeling rules that would have required warning labels to declare beer to contain wheat or barley.

    Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq introduced new packaging requirements which give brewers a temporary exemption from the regulations. Minister Aglukkaq has said that she will first consult with other countries which have introduced similar labeling rules.

    The decision was at least a temporary victory for the industry, mainly for smaller beer-makers that claimed that the cost of replacing their painted bottles to conform with the new rules would run into the millions of dollars.

    The industry has also taken the position that every beer drinker knows that beer contains wheat or barley.

    “Our intent was never to hold up the entire regulations,” said André Fortin, a spokesman for the Brewers Association of Canada, said the industry group was "pleased with the decision to take into account the particular situation for beer.”

    The beer labels are of particular interest to people suffering from celiac disease, who suffer an auto-immune reaction when exposed the gluten contained in such grains as barley, wheat and rye.

    The last minute agreement to exempt beer from allergy labeling requirements disappointed some. Laurie Harada of Anaphylaxis Canada, which represents people with food allergies, said her group was “very disappointed by the last-minute decision of the government to pull the regulations for the beer.”

    Ms. Harada called on the Canadian government to move quickly make a final decision about beer labels.

    “They can’t give us any idea of the process or the dates right now, so I would still be asking the question: How are you going to deal with this?”

    But Ms. Harada said she is extremely pleased with the bulk of the new regulations. “It will certainly help to protect a number of people,” she said.

    The revised regulations require that manufacturers clearly identify food allergens, gluten sources and sulphites either in the list of ingredients or at the end of the list of ingredients.

    In addition, an allergen or gluten source must be written in commonly used words such as milk or wheat.

    Experts estimate that 5 to 6 per cent of young children and 3 to 4 per cent of adults suffer from food allergies, while nearly 1 per cent of the general population is affected by celiac disease.

    In part because of the complexity of the rule changes, and the shelf life of foods, the new regulations will not be enforced until Aug. 4, 2012.


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    I know that it may sound silly but there are people out there who have absolutely no idea that beer contains wheat. I was at a bar with a couple friends and one of them who shall remain nameless had no idea it contained wheat. Can't remember how we got on the subject but me and my boyfriend where shocked!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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  • Forum Discussions

    Thank you Ranchers Wife.  Since I'm asymptomatic, I would not know if I had gluten. I cannot imagine having to worry about getting sick from cross-contamination. 
    Hi Jenna1028, They test for DH by taking a small skin biopsy from clear skin next to a lesion.  If you have DH, you have celiac disease.  But, you need to be eating a gluten diet for 12 weeks (gluten challenge) before getting the skin bi...
    To the OP, once in a while this stuff happens.  Please feel free to start a new topic if that would make it easier.  I am afraid this is just part of forums on the internet. I hope this didn’t chase you off.  
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