New guidelines for allergen management released in Canada

Food Allergy Canada has recently released the Allergen Management Guidelines for Food Manufacturers to assist the country’s food and beverage producers in the process of implementing food allergen preventive control measures and provide accurate labelling for consumers.

Food allergens such as peanuts, shellfish, wheat, eggs, and milk affect over 3 million Canadians, including 600 000 children, and impact 1-in-2 households. These people's health (and, sometime, life) depend on having access to reliable ingredient data, yet existing food labeling procedures, especially precautionary allergen labeling (PAL), are often ambiguous and misleading, makeing it difficult to find safe food options.

“This approach will help provide safe food options for our community and labeling they can trust,” said Jennifer Gerdts, Executive Director, Food Allergy Canada.

The guidelines were drafted by a multi-stakeholder council, co-led by Université Laval and Maple Leaf Foods in collaboration with the food industry, considering current international guidelines, scientific and expert community reports, and Canadian food manufacturer expertise.

This guide will help meet Canadian regulatory requirements and guarantee better transparency to consumers. Moreover, it aligns with the most recent international advice stemming from the WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on food allergen risk assessment methodologies and allergen thresholds.

With these guidelines, food manufacturers now have an industry-informed framework, that offers practical recommendations for all types and sizes of manufacturers.