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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Special Diets, Food Allergies/Restrictions/Substitutions, Exercise and General Dieting Tips / Canadian food labels now must use common names for allergens
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    Canadian food labels now must use common names for allergens

    Molly53
    Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:43 am
    Forum Host
    Parents of a kid with allergies know the drill: Scrutinizing a cookie label for words like globulin, albumin, livetin, binder, emulsifier all of which mean they contain eggs.

    After years of consumer lobbying about impenetrable or confusing labels, food sold in Canada must now indicate common allergens in plain language either in the list of ingredients, in brackets behind chemical name, or in a boldface sentence immediately after the ingredients saying “Contains milk, eggs and gluten,” for instance.

    That means when a consumer sees the “Contains ...” sentence, they can be confident that all allergens covered by the Health Canada regulations are listed there. But if there is no such warning, they still have to check the list of ingredients where “eggs,” for instance, should be noted in brackets after a less obvious name for it.

    The federal government issued notice of the new rules in 2011 and gave food manufacturers 18 months to change their labels to comply. That deadline passed in August.

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces the rules and says consumers who find labels that don’t follow the rules should contact them. (Website and number listed below.)

    It can be a life-or-death issue for people who suffer severe allergic reactions — often called anaphylaxis — an immune system response to a protein in the food which can be deadly if it cuts off breathing because of swelling in the throat. Thankfully, most reactions are less dangerous and include skin rashes, itchy and swollen eyes, tongue and throat, and difficulty swallowing.

    A food sensitivity is generally defined as a reaction to certain foods that is unwanted, but does not create measurable antigens in the blood that lead to an allergic reaction. Tests for those antigens are also used to officially diagnose an allergy.

    People with allergies should also watch out for the words “may contain” which indicates the food maker can’t guarantee the product isn’t cross-contaminated with ingredients processed at the same facility.

    Health Canada defines a food intolerance as a catch-all that covers allergies, sensitivities and celiac disease (an immuno-response to gluten).

    Here’s a list of the common allergens covered by the national rules, other names they are called in the list of ingredients and examples of some obvious and not-so-obvious foods where they can be found:


    Eggs
    Also called: Albumin, albumen, conalbumin, egg substitutes, globulin, livetin, lysozyme, ovalbumin, ovomucin, ovotransferrin, silico-albuminate, vitellin.

    Expected sources: baked goods, battered fried foods, cream-filled bakery goods, mayonnaise, quiche, creamy dressings, egg noodles.

    Unexpected: processed chicken meat, meat products with fillers such as hamburgers and hotdogs, some soup, imitation crab and lobster


    Milk
    Also called beta-lactoglobulin, casein, rennet casein, caseinate (ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, and sodium caseinate), delactosed or demineralized whey, dry milk, milk solids, hydrolyzed casein and hydrolyzed milk protein, lactalbumin and lactalbumin phosphate, lactose, milk derivative, modified milk ingredients, whey and whey protein concentrate

    Expected sources: baked goods, butter, buttermilk, cheese, chocolate bars, cream, cream soups, ice cream, ghee, kefir, sour cream, yogurt.

    Unexpected sources: dark chocolate, battered foods, caramel colouring or flavouring, frozen prepared foods, cereals, cookies and crackers, gravies and sauces, malt-drink mixes, margarine, processed meats, sausages, soups, sour cream and onion potato chip, soy cheese


    Peanuts
    Also called arachis oil, beer nuts, goober nuts, and goober peas, ground nuts, nut meats, valencias

    Expect sources: hydrolyzed plant protein and vegetable protein, nut substitutes, peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut sauces and toppings on Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese food, snack foods (for example, trail mixes), vegetarian meat substitutes.

    Unexpected sources: baked goods, chili, cereals, dried salad dressings and soup mixes, icing, glazes


    Seafood
    Includes fish, crustaceans (for example, lobster, shrimp) and shellfish (for example, clams, mussels)

    Expected sources: fish eggs, Chinese fried rice, seafood paella, seafood soups and broths, sushi.

    Unexpected sources: garnishes, for example, caponata (Sicilian relish), gelatin, kamaboko (imitation crab and lobster meat) marshmallows, salad dressings, surimi (used to make imitation crab and lobster meat), Worcestershire sauce, spreads, for example, taramasalata

    Note: The Canada Food Inspection Agency says most fish oils on the market have been refined and no longer contain proteins that trigger allergic reactions. But it advises people with fish allergies to talk to their doctors before taking fish oil as a source of omega-3.


    Sesame
    Also called benne, benne seed and benniseed, gingelly and gingelly oil, sesamol and sesamolina, Sesamum indicum, sim sim, til.

    Expected sources: multi-grain bread, bread crumbs and sticks, cereals, crackers, Melba toast and muesli, dips and spreads, for example, hummus, chutney, sesame oil, sesame salt (gomasio), sesame snap bars, tahini (sesame paste), tempeh, vegetarian burgers.

    Unexpected sources: dressings, gravies, marinades, salads, seasonings, soups, vegetable oil.


    Soy
    New labelling rules say soy must be identified if it’s the source of hydrolyzed protein, for example hydrolyzed vegetable protein (soy), rather than just hydrolyzed vegetable protein.

    Expected sources: bean curd (dofu, kori-dofu, soybean curds, tofu, edamame, imitation cheese, imitation milk, kinako, miso, natto, nimame, okara, soya, soja, soybean and soyabeans, soy nuts, soy pasta, soy protein (isolate and concentrate), soy sauce, tempeh, textured soy flour (TSF), textured soy protein (TSP.) and textured vegetable protein (TVP), yuba.

    Unexpected sources: bean sprouts, bread crumbs, cereals and crackers, chewing gum, frozen desserts, infant formula, nutrition supplements for toddlers and children, meal replacements, meat products with fillers, for example, burgers and prepared ground meat products, Mexican food, sauces (shoyu, tamari, teriyaki, Worcestershire), seasonings, simulated fish and meat products (imitation bacon bits), soups, thickening agents.


    Tree nuts
    Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.

    Expected sources: calisson (a marzipan-like candy made from almonds), almond chicken, pad thai, satay, chili and trout amandine, gianduja and giandula (chocolate blended with hazel nuts), marzipan (almond paste), tree nut oils, pralines, spreads, nougat (sugar paste made with nuts), nut butter (almond butter, cashew butter), nutella, vegetarian dishes.

    Unexpected sources: baking mixes, cereals, crackers and muesli, barbecue and pesto sauces, dressings and gravies, flavoured coffees, frozen desserts, liqueurs (amaretto, Frangelico), flavourings and extracts.


    Wheat
    Some people are allergic to the protein in wheat. One of those proteins is gluten, also found in kamut and spelt, barley, rye, and triticale. can’t be eaten by people with celiac disease.

    It’s also called atta, bulgur, couscous, durum, kamut, seitan, semolina, spelt (dinkel, farro), triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

    Expected sources: white and whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat germ, breads and baked goods, baking mixes, baking powder, gluten.

    Unexpected sources: beer, cereal-based coffee substitutes (chicory, barley), chicken and beef broth (cans and bouillon cubes), communion wafers, falafel, deli meats, hotdogs, ice cream, imitation bacon, ketchup, mustard pie fillings, sauces, seasonings.


    Sulphites
    When they sulphites make up more than 10 parts per million of a food or are added a preservative, must be declared in the ingredients list or after the word “Contains.”

    Source: Canada Food Inspection Agency, Health CanadaFor locations of Canadian Food Inspection Agency Offices go to:

    http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/labelling/contacts/eng/1300275138875/1300275631949
    ~Laury~
    Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:44 am
    Food.com Groupie
    It would be fantastic if the US would follow Canada's lead on this!! Thank you for posting this, Molly. I now can help Tom more on how to detect the presence of eggs on foods he buys. I am sensitive to eggs and milk. I am allowed to eat them if he uses it in cooking but we don't have me eat eggs by themselves or to drink milk.
    Molly53
    Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:08 am
    Forum Host
    ~Laury~ wrote:
    It would be fantastic if the US would follow Canada's lead on this!! Thank you for posting this, Molly. I now can help Tom more on how to detect the presence of eggs on foods he buys. I am sensitive to eggs and milk. I am allowed to eat them if he uses it in cooking but we don't have me eat eggs by themselves or to drink milk.
    I think we'll be seeing more of this in the US, Laurie.

    A lot of American companies market their wares in Canada. If they're already labeling things according to Canadian rules, it makes cost-sense for them not to print separate labels for each country.
    Marissa-Rae
    Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:07 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Molly53 wrote:
    ~Laury~ wrote:
    It would be fantastic if the US would follow Canada's lead on this!! Thank you for posting this, Molly. I now can help Tom more on how to detect the presence of eggs on foods he buys. I am sensitive to eggs and milk. I am allowed to eat them if he uses it in cooking but we don't have me eat eggs by themselves or to drink milk.
    I think we'll be seeing more of this in the US, Laurie.

    A lot of American companies market their wares in Canada. If they're already labeling things according to Canadian rules, it makes cost-sense for them not to print separate labels for each country.


    I really hope they do. I don't understand why they would use different names in the first place. People will still get sick from it.
    lauralie41
    Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:46 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Thank you Molly for sharing this information with us! Folks with food allergies have to be so careful and then to be mislead by another food name that still means ALLERGY is horrible.
    slimpetite
    Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:16 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thank you Molly. Its good to know that i can now look on a label and know what's in there. icon_biggrin.gif
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