Health Canada is reviewing 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. The following principles have been proposed in order to guide this work:
- Canada’s gluten-free labelling policy should reflect the fact that consumers following a GFD for medical reasons must not consume the protein fraction of certain cereal grains.
- Health Canada’s gluten-free labelling policy should be mindful and protective of the minority of individuals with CD who do not tolerate the consumption of uncontaminated oats.
- This policy should reflect that Health Canada recommends that those individuals and/or practitioners interested in introducing oats to people with CD or dermatitis herpetiformis are advised to consult physicians, dietitians and health practitioners before the introduction of oats to the gluten-free diet.
- Health Canada’s gluten-free labelling policy should take into consideration the proposed regulatory amendments to enhance the labelling of allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites in pre-packaged foods as well as Health Canada’s ongoing review of precautionary labelling of pre-packaged foods in order to promote consistency and minimize consumer confusion.
Health Canada is currently seeking feedback from the public on these proposed principles. In addition, we would like to know if there are other issues that should be considered with regards to potential changes to Canada’s gluten-free labelling policy.
The feedback received through this consultation will be considered by Health Canada as it moves forward with developing options for potential revisions to Canada’s gluten-free labelling policy.
Health Canada will undertake further consultation with stakeholders once potential options have been developed.