Health Canada Proposes Gluten-Free Labeling Policy Revisions

May 13, 2010

Health Canada Proposes Gluten-Free Labeling Policy Revisions

New policy seeks to benefit industry and consumers alike.

Health Canada announced today it will seek feedback from fellow citizens as it finalizes a proposal to revise the country’s current Gluten-free Labeling policy.

“The consultation, which will be posted on the Health Canada website and open for comments from May 13 until July 11, is intended to help inform the development of the proposed changes.

The Canadian Food and Drug Regulations currently states that: ‘No person shall label, package, sell or advertise a food in a manner likely to create an impression that it is a gluten-free food unless the food does not contain wheat, including spelt and kamut, or oats, barley, rye or triticale or any part thereof.’ In addition, ‘gluten-free’ is not permitted on packaged food products containing oats; even if the oats are pure and uncontaminated with other cereals.

Until recently, oats were thought to cause adverse effects in individuals with celiac disease. However, Health Canada’s recent review of the safety of consuming pure oats indicates that the majority of people with celiac disease can tolerate moderate amounts of oats that are pure and uncontaminated with other cereals. Current scientific knowledge also suggests that pure oats can be beneficial to those individuals with celiac disease who tolerate it, and its palatability and nutritional benefits may increase compliance with a gluten-free diet. For these reasons, Health Canada recognizes the importance in revising the gluten-free labelling requirements in order to provide better information to consumers with celiac disease.”

Through this reform, organization aims to,“modernize Canada’s current gluten-free labelling policy in order to minimize the risk of inadvertent consumption of gluten by sensitive individuals and to maximize the choice of gluten- free foods for consumers following a gluten-free diet.”

For more information on the developments in Canada and to download Health Canada’s newly proposed policy, visit their website.