The big day is almost here! On February 16, 2011, Health Canada published amendments to food labeling regulations that would take effect on August 4, 2012, giving manufacturers 18 months advance notice. That means as of this weekend, prepackaged foods must list allergens (including gluten) in a straightforward manner.
There are two approved methods for listing allergens:
- In the ingredient list itself
- In a “Contains” or “May Contain” statement in a Warnings section.
Most manufacturers have implemented this new requirement over the past 18 months, but make sure that you continue to read ALL labels as more changes may be coming. (You should always read the labels, anyways!)
Beer is one exception. Since standard beer always contains barley and is never suitable for Celiacs, barley in beer will NOT specifically be marked as an allergen. (Gluten-free beers are safe for Celiacs.)
Here are some useful resources about the change.
- Read the Health Canada summary here.
- The Canadian Celiac Association has an excellent fact sheet on shopping gluten-free (including an explanation of the new rules) here.
- The Canadian Celiac Association also has a fact sheet on what gluten-free actually means here.