Canadian government urged to approve proposed federal food labelling regulations

Doctors, consumer and health advocates call on Prime Minister to approve rules now

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being asked to act on the concerns of millions of Canadians with food allergies and celiac disease and listen to the advice of prominent national medical, consumer and health organizations and pass proposed federal food labelling regulations now. The Prime Minister is also encouraged to heed the results of a new public opinion poll showing close to 70% of Canadians want regulations to affect all pre-packaged food and beverages and not grant a special exemption for the beer industry.

According to Angus Reid Public Opinion, 67% of Canadians approve of the proposed rules so they apply to all food and beverage companies, while only 21% believe the government should change the proposed rules to exempt the brewery industry from having to declare common allergens, gluten sources and sulphites. A solid majority of Canadians support the proposed regulations across all regional, demographic and education lines.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, groups in support of the Proposed Amendments to Enhance the Labelling of Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites argue that consumers have a right to know if there are ingredients in food and beverage products that can trigger a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. They explain why the Prime Minister should reject the last minute opposition to the proposed regulations from the influential multi-national brewery industry and respect the commitment of his own Health Minister to pass these new rules in early 2011. The full letter to the Prime Minister can be read here:

After twelve years of advocacy from the community for clearer food labelling, the new regulations were created to make it easier for people to understand food ingredient labels. As there is no way of predicting how severe an allergic reaction may be and no known cure for anaphylaxis, avoidance of allergens is the only means of staying safe. Food allergy is one of the leading causes of potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.

"After 18 months of public and stakeholder consultation and widespread support from consumers, industry and the medical community, it is time for this government to move forward and pass these food labelling regulations now," said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada and herself the parent of a teen with multiple food allergies.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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