Ontario only province not to cover blood tests

Editors Note: Ontario is the only province in Canada not to cover blood tests for Celiac Disease. The CCA is making it an issue in the Ontario provincial election. Here’s a letter sent to Ontario CCA members.

Ontario Members of the Canadian Celiac Association:

As you are no doubt aware, Ontario remains the last province not to cover the blood tests for celiac disease under medicare. This gap has resulted in hardship for many suffering individuals across the province.

The CCA has been pushing hard to convince the Government of Ontario to correct the situation. Within the Ontario government process, it has now gone as far as it can. It has been studied and recommended for approval by the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, but has not received final approval by the Ministry at the political level.

It has been demonstrated by Dr. Daniel Leffler and other experts that to cover celiac blood screening can actually be a money-saver for individual, government and business alike. With the majority of celiacs not exhibiting the “classical” gastrointestinal symptoms, further screening of at-risk groups can catch people before they get really sick, meaning fewer visits to the doctor, fewer missed work days, and fewer complications down the road.

The Ontario election presents a rare opportunity to bring this critical issue to the forefront. Your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) will be close to home, and you have the opportunity to raise the matter when the candidates come to your door, or even as a question at an all-candidates debate.

Make them aware that, with governments around the world feeling the economic pinch these days, and in light of rising health care costs, a common sense measure such as this can lessen the financial strain. With belt tightening on the horizon, an ounce of prevention can be worth more than a pound of cure. An information sheet is attached that was prepared specifically for this advocacy campaign. Feel free to use this as background.

Celiacs make up 1% of the population, so that means that in a riding of 100 000 people, your MPP will have 1 000 celiac constituents. Candidates can improve their prospects by promising to raise this issue – a win-win for all concerned – in the next legislative session at Queen’s Park.

With your support, we can see Ontario catch up with the rest of Canada on this matter. This fix will save tax dollars in the long run, and lessen the burden on our health care system.

Let’s make a positive difference this election campaign.

Mark Johnson
National Secretary
Canadian Celiac Association

Undeclared gluten in Hempola hempseed flour

ALLERGY ALERT –
UNDECLARED WHEAT GLUTEN IN HEMPOLA BRAND GLUTEN-FREE HEMPSEED FLOUR

OTTAWA, April 1, 2010 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Hempola Inc. are warning people with allergies to wheat and gluten not to consume the Hempola brand Gluten-Free Hempseed Flour described below. The affected product may contain wheat gluten which is not declared on the label.

All lot codes of the Hempola brand Gluten-Free Hempseed Flour, sold in 454 g packages bearing UPC 6 23188 78923 1 are affected by this alert. This product has been distributed in Ontario.

There has been one reported allergic reaction associated with the consumption of this product.

Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction n persons with allergies to wheat.

The manufacturer, Hempola Inc., Barrie, ON is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace.  The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:

Greg Herriott, Hempola Inc., at 416-587-1446;
CFIA at 1 800 442-2342 / TTY 1 800 465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern
time, Monday to Friday).

For information on Wheat, one of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/allerge.shtml.

For information on all food recalls, visit the CFIA’s Food Recall Report at:
http://active.inspection.gc.ca/eng/corp/recarapp_dbe.asp.