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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Canada Requires All Food Labels to Declare Gluten, Other Allergens

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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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    This is good news for Canadians. I wonder if the product in the picture is really gluten-free if it contains mixed tocopherols. Do celiacs still need to worry that some of the vitamin E might come from wheat germ even though the product claims it is gluten-free?

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    Good question from Susan. Here in Australia, I've discovered that if it isn't actually an 'ingredient' then it doesn't always get on the label, e.g. flour used to stop food items sticking together during processing or in packaging. Good on you, though, to the Canadian government.

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    The above is not gluten free. The definition of gluten is sadly lacking.

     

    All grains have gluten in them and since it has rice in it, it is not gluten free. Yes, It is a different form of gluten but the body can't tell the difference.

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    I'm originally from Canada and go back at least once a year to visit family. I'd be very interested to know if their labeling for gluten will include if it's made on the same lines/cross contamination etc.

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    Curious that an article about Canadian food labels shows an American food label with a gluten-free product in it. It should show a Canadian label with allergens in it to demonstrate the headline of this article. We need all the help we can get!

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    The above is not gluten free. The definition of gluten is sadly lacking.

     

    All grains have gluten in them and since it has rice in it, it is not gluten free. Yes, It is a different form of gluten but the body can't tell the difference.

    I am unaware of any study that shows that the bodies of people with celiac disease react the same to rice gluten as to the gluten in wheat, barley or rye? I am also not aware of any study that indicates that rice gluten provokes any adverse reaction in people with celiac disease. Perhaps you could cite your sources for this (mis)information?

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    The above is not gluten free. The definition of gluten is sadly lacking.

     

    All grains have gluten in them and since it has rice in it, it is not gluten free. Yes, It is a different form of gluten but the body can't tell the difference.

    Wrong. Rice doesn't contain glutenin and gliadin which are the proteins that celiacs and gluten intolerant people react to.

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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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