Beer industry’s lobbying shelves new labeling laws

By David Fowler

According to the Montreal Gazette this morning, the beer lobby has managed to delay the allegen label law we have all been waiting for.  It may be as late as December before Health Canada finally publishes the new rules now 10 years in the making.

The new law would have required companies to identify known allergens, such as gluten, nuts, milk or sulphites.

The CCA appeared on our behalf yesterday to protest the delay but it fell on deaf ears.  This despite the findings of an Angus Reid poll commissioned by the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) and Anaphylaxis Canada that showed that  67 per cent of Canadians want the labeling rules to apply to all food and beverage companies including beer.

If you have ever wondered why you should join the CCA or renew your membership I can think of no better example.  We need experts who act on our behalf to educate themselves and inform decision makers of our issues.  As evident here, we are competing with powerful moneyed interests of the agri-food business.

Food for thought: I wonder how the beer industry will react in the coming months when media publish reports of severe illness or death that might have been averted if the new label laws had not been delayed?  Will they cover the extra health care costs borne by the health care system and by families that would have not occurred if the law was enacted?

Read the full article in the Montreal Gazette.

Urgent Call – Write your MP to save the proposed labelling law

By David Fowler

David Fowler

If you are like me, you are shocked that after 10 years in the making of the new label law, the beer lobby, at the 11th hour, is complaining about the proposed new regulations.  Their complaints threaten to throw off  labeling legislation which we understood to be imminent.

Honestly, how big of a deal is it to phase in new labels on your products when it means so much to others health?  Sheesh!  They could have started years ago on their own initiative to better serve their customers.

For more, check out this article in Wednesday’s Vancouver Sun:

Feds may yield to pressure to scale back beer labelling rules

http://www.vancouversun.com/Feds+yield+pressure+scale+back+beer+labelling+rules/4173811/story.html

I urge you to take the time to contact your local Member of Parliament about this.  Here are some email addresses for you.  Just click on one and start typing!

Kelowna – Ron Cannan: ron@cannan.ca

Penticton – Stockwell Day: days1@parl.gc.ca

Vernon – Colin Mayes: mayesc@parl.gc.ca

Below is a well crafted letter sent by our very own Angela Petrie to give you some inspiration.

Hi Ron and Stockwell,

My family lives in Kelowna and we are therefore your constituents.  Ron, we corresponded before about the importance of passing this allergy law and Stockwell, I started drafting an email to you but never got around to finishing it.

Attached is a press release from the Canadian Celiac Association.  I am the “BC member” that they are quoting in the Release.

My daughter Hannah is 6 years old.  Eating gluten-free is Hannah’s ‘medicine’.  As long as she adheres to the diet she is a happy, healthy, thriving child.  I would classify myself as an expert (not by choice) in reading labels and making sure that there is no gluten around her.  Hannah has her own Tupperware containers, toaster, even the dishwasher soap I use is gluten-free!  If she is exposed to so much as a crumb of gluten we have weeks of hell that follow.  It starts with digestive upset and vomiting.  She curls up in the fetal position for days.  Once that passes the behavior issues and insomnia arrive.  How long that lasts varies from 1-3 weeks – she misses school, has huge temper tantrums and becomes an insomniac.  She misses school, I miss work, she gets down about being a celiac.  Following this diet is extremely expensive.  I cannot afford to miss work and I worry about Hannah missing big chunks of school time when she gets older or on a semester system.

The only time Hannah is ‘glutened’ now is through hidden sources (not clearly stated on a label) or cross-contamination.

This law has been in the works for 10 years.  To think that a beer company can put the lives of so many at risk is ludicrous.  This is just the life of a celiac.  What about those who have  anaphylaxis to other common food allergies.  Food allergies cost the government a lot of money in lost taxes and increased doctor visits/hospital stays.

This law is too important to not pass because of the interests of ‘big business’.  Food allergies are ‘big business’ in so many other ways – and can have life and death consequences.  Please contact me and let me know your stance on this issue and how you will be voting on this issue.

Stockwell, it is my understanding that this was delayed at the ‘treasurer’ level in early January.  This email, in part, is what I was going to put forth to you!

I look forward to hearing your responses to this.

Angela Petrie

If you think I’m full of hot air, please tell me so using  the comment section below.