New labelling regulations in Canada come into effect today (August 4, 2012). While manufacturers have had some time to implement the new regulations, some products may not meet all the requirements immediately. While the CONTAINS and MAY CONTAIN statements are helpful in identifying top allergens and gluten, always read the ingredient list.
The new regulations require that the ten priority allergens, gluten sources, and added sulphites of 10 ppm be identified using plain language either in the ingredient list or in a Contains statement that appears immediately after the ingredient list. Manufacturers have a choice about which method they choose to use.
When you check for gluten, you may need to check two places:
- The WARNINGS section – CONTAINS, MAY CONTAIN.
- The INGREDIENT list
Start with the WARNINGS. You are looking for wheat, rye, barley, oats or gluten.
If there is a CONTAINS statement, and it does not include wheat or a gluten grain, the ingredients are acceptable for a gluten-free diet.
If the ingredient list just says oats, assume they are contaminated with gluten, unless they are specifically identified as pure uncontaminated oats or by the source (Cream Hill Estates Oats, Only Oats, etc.).
If there is no CONTAINS statement, check the INGREDIENT list. You are looking for wheat, rye, barley or oats. If you see wheat, rye, barley, or oats, the product is NOT OK. If you do not see any gluten source listed, the ingredients are acceptable for a gluten-free diet.
- Plain names must be used for all allergens – WHEAT, MILK, EGGS, etc. Allergens cannot be hidden in ingredients like seasoning or natural flavour.
- If one allergen is listed in a CONTAINS statement, then all the allergens including gluten must be listed.
- The only warnings that have official meanings are CONTAINS and MAY CONTAIN. All other warnings (“made in a plant that also processes wheat “etc.) can only be understood by contacting the company.
- Cross-contamination with gluten can occur in a product despite the use of good manufacturing practices and may not be reflected on the ingredient list.
Get a printable PDF version of this document at: http://www.celiac.ca/pdfs/Looking_for_gluten.pdf