Food Allergen Labelling
This guest blog post is provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants which enhances the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.
There are approximately 350 food recalls in Canada every year and undeclared food allergens continue to be one of the most common reasons for these recalls. The food industry plays a vital role in protecting Canadians who have food allergies by making sure their packaged products are labelled properly so consumers can make safe food choices.
In May, during Food Allergy Awareness Month, industry and consumers are reminded of the importance of food allergen labelling. Here is a series of plain language information products to help food businesses understand food allergen labelling and comply with requirements:
1. Our Industry Labelling Tool is a helpful food labelling reference for all food businesses and stakeholders in Canada and includes industry resources such as:
a. Allergen labelling guidance and tips for industry to help both food manufacturers and importers ensure that their products are labelled properly.
b. An interactive food allergen labelling infographic for any business selling or making package food that contains priority food allergens, gluten sources or added sulphites. The infographic is also available for PDF download in English and French, as well as six non-official languages.
c. The labelling requirements checklist is a self-assessment tool to help food businesses and industry stakeholders understand labelling requirements.
2. In addition, we have also developed a series of food allergen labelling videos for industry which provide an overview of the top 10 priority food allergens.
When it comes to allergen labelling, it is important that food businesses ensure that:
- They comply with regulatory requirements including producing compliant labels
- They have effective food safety systems in place to control allergens
- They have effective systems in place to manage undeclared allergens, when they occur, including a recall plan
"Notifying the CFIA as early as possible when a potential allergen concern is identified is important, so the CFIA can rapidly initiate a food safety investigation and determine whether a recall is required," said Ken Marcynuk, Manager at the CFIA's Office of Food Safety and Recall.