Celiac disease and labeling on AM 1150 radio

Kelowna Chapter President Irene Thompson and chapter member Angela Petrie were on Kelowna’s AM 1150 at 5:52 pm Thursday night to discuss this week’s set back for the new allergen labeling law.

Coincidently, the AM 1150 host, Jessica Samuels, is newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  Click the logo below to listen to a full audio replay of the segment (run time 9:27).


Click to listen to a full replay of the AM 1150 segment

Click here to listen to a replay (8.8 Mb streaming .mp3).

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.

Celiac disease profiled on CHBC news

Click to watch Kelowna chapter member Angela Petrie on CHBC news.

Congratulations to our very own Angela Petrie who appeared yesterday on CHBC news.

Angela was interviewed about the this impacts of Celiac Disease on her family’s life and the challenges that a lack of a label law present.

In the interview, Angela effectively captured the emotional frustration that we all feel about the labelling issue.

“It’s asinine.  This is a life and death situation.  Every time someone is glutened, eats shellfish or peanuts, we land up in the hospital. Put the damn ingredients on the label and you save a ton of money!”

If you haven’t already, please contact your MP about the delays in the allergy label law and sign the petition.

Click to watch the item on CHBC news.

Allergy law

By Angela Petrie

Kelowna MP Ron Cannan

I have been following the news with respect to the latest ‘hiccup’ in the decade long quest to introduce legislation making it mandatory for companies to whether the food contains any of the top common allergens.  I have been diligently signing the petitions, emailing my MP, and asking friends/family etc. to do the same.

I was quite surprised to see an excerpt from my email to Ron Cannan quoted in a Press Release issued by the Canadian Celiac Association last week about the latest snag to the Bill – “Food and beverage labelling amendments have taken more than a decade to get to the stage where they are about to become law but now could be killed at the highest level because of the influence of Canada’s beer industry.”  Final approval of these amendments remains in jeopardy.

The National Post wrote an article today detailing the breweries side of the story.  It can be found at:  http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/Beer+makers+protest+proposed+allergy+warning+labels/4137753/story.html

Now everyone is obviously allowed to state their opinions, but it was some of the comments written after the article that have me extremely angry:

(1)  ”Firstly, anybody who is not aware that beer contains barley or wheat is too stupid to drink beer. Secondly, “How do I feed my children at dinner safely”? If you are serving your children beer at dinner, you have bigger problems than celiac disease.”

(2)  Better yet, Health Canada officials should have a warning label on their foreheads that states WARNING- THIS CONTAINER IS 100% IDIOT.

(3)  Uh … what else can you make beer with? Frankly, anyone allergic to grains who goes and drinks beer anyway pretty much deserves to get sick.

These comments really irk me.  It is the actions of these breweries, who have been at the negotiating table for over a decade, that put the entire legislation at risk.  This affects so many people, not just celiacs, and ‘big business’ is influencing decisions that have life and death consequences (peanut/shellfish/lactose allergies).

This is my rant for the evening.  If you are concerned about this issue contact your MLA and let them know your opinion.

Angela Petrie is a gluten free consultant.  She can be reached at 250-863-8123 or check out her website at www.glutenfreehelp.ca

Hydrolyzed wheat study promising

Courtesy Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour are not toxic to celiac disease patients, according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. Celiac disease occurs in the digestive system when people cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found primarily in wheat.

“This is the first time that a wheat flour-derived product is shown to not be toxic after being given to celiac patients for 60 days,” said Luigi Greco, MD, PhD, of the University of Napes, Italy, and lead author of the study. “Our findings support further research that explores therapies that could reduce the toxicity of gluten for celiac patients beyond the standard gluten-free diet.”

Gluten is also primarily found in barley and rye, but may be in everyday products such as soy sauce and salad dressing, as well as some medications and vitamins. Celiac disease was, until recently, thought to be a rare disease. However, recent research has shown that as many as three million people in the U.S. may have celiac disease.

In this study, doctors evaluated the safety of daily administration of baked goods made from a hydrolyzed form of wheat flour to patients with celiac disease. The doctors fermented wheat flour with sourdough lactobacilli and fungal proteases; this process decreases the concentration of gluten.

A total of 16 patients with celiac disease, ranging in age from 12 to 23 years were evaluated. They were in good health on a gluten-free diet for at least five years. Two of the six patients who ate natural flour baked goods discontinued the study because of symptoms such as malaise, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The two patients who ate extensively hydrolyzed flour baked goods had no clinical complaints, but developed subtotal atrophy (complete absence of villi, the fingerlike protrusions necessary for absorption). The five patients that ate the fully hydrolyzed baked goods had no clinical complaints.

“Prolonged trials have to be planned to underscore the safety of baked goods made by applying the rediscovered and adapted biotechnology of hydrolysis. In the future, cereals made through such biotechnology could also improve the nutritional and sensory properties of baked goods containing hydrolyzed gluten compared to products made of naturally gluten-free ingredients,” added Dr. Greco.

Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology is a monthly peer-reviewed journal including original articles as well as scholarly reviews. For more information, visit www.cghjournal.org.

Call for CCA Board Nominations

By Jim McCarthy, Executive Director – Canadian Celiac Association

  • Do you know a member who has marketing, educational, financial skills?
  • Have they played a role at the chapter or national level?
  • Could they make a valuable contribution to the future success of the CCA?

If so – submit their name as a candidate to join the CCA National Board!

Any ‘current’ member may nominate a member for the position on the National Executive.  The Positions of ‘President’, ‘Executive Vice President’ and ‘Vice President’ are open for Nomination for 2011-2013.

Any ‘current’ member from within these regions can nominate a candidate for the region.

The Positions of Regional Director for ‘Alberta’ (Edmonton and Calgary Chapters), ‘Northeastern Ontario’ (Belleville/Quinte, Kingston, Peterborough, Ottawa, Sudbury, Thunder Bay & district Chapters), ‘Central Ontario’ (Toronto Chapter), and ‘Atlantic’ (Fredericton, Halifax, Moncton, PEI, Saint John, & St. John’s Chapters) are open for Nomination for 2011-2013.

Any member, 18 years of age or older, who has served on the Executive of a Member Chapter for at least one year may be nominated to a position on the National Executive or as a Regional Director. To be nominated for President, the candidate must have served at least one year on the National Board.

Click for the PDF nomination information and form.

Call to action to save food labelling effort

By Allergic Living magazine

We wanted to forward this urgent communication from Anaphylaxis Canada to the food allergy and celiac communities regarding the lobbying efforts to urge the federal government to approve the proposed food labelling regulations.

Anaphylaxis Canada writes:

As you may have seen on the weekend, several media outlets reported that the beer industry has come out in strong opposition to the proposed regulatory changes. This opposition by a powerful private interest group threatens to derail final approval of the proposed changes by the federal government. We are deeply concerned with this development and that the regulations might not be passed.

As you know, community stakeholders have been waiting for 2 1/2 years for these regulations to be enacted – and this is on top of the 10-year campaign for such changes that preceded it.

The public good must take precedence over powerful private interests.

The only way to counter the influence of powerful business groups like the beer industry is to demonstrate the widespread public support for food labelling changes. We therefore seek your urgent assistance again.

1. Please call Prime Minister Stephen Harper office at (613) 992-4211 as soon as possible.

2. Please join Allergic Living’s write-in campaign: http://www.allergicliving.com/petitions/food-labelling/

3. Contact your Member of Parliament. Click here to find your local MP: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/compilations/houseofcommons/memberbypostalcode.aspx?menu=hoc

Please tell the Prime Minister and your MP that people with food allergies and those who shop for them need clearer food labeling on all food packages and beverage labels.

It’s a matter of life and death. And public safety is more important than private interests.

Further to this point, the Canadian Celiac Association writes today:

What will it take to make our government and Ottawa lobbyists understand that Canadians have a right to know if their food and drinks are safe? How many visits to the ER, how many work days lost, how many deaths will it take?

More: http://www.prweb.com/releases/Celiac-Disease-Allergens/Food-Beverage-Labelling/prweb4999184.htm

Beer industry tries to derail new labelling law

by Jim McCarthy

Health and safety of millions of Canadians at stake over a beer?

Canadians should be plenty worried when the deep pockets of the brewing industry put the lives of 2.8 million of us at risk. Food and beverage labelling amendments have taken more than a decade to get to the stage where they are about to become law but now could be killed at the highest level because of the influence of Canada’s beer industry. People with food allergies and celiac disease absolutely have to know what ingredients are added to everything they consume.

The current government promised Canadian consumers more than two years ago to plug the holes in our labeling regulations and invited consumer and patient support groups to a press conference with then-minister Tony Clement to announce the good news. Might that same government now betray its vulnerable citizens? What will it take to make our government and Ottawa lobbyists understand that Canadians have a right to know if their food and drink are safe? How many visits to the ER, how many work days lost, how many deaths will it take? Just a few facts:

  • 12% of allergic/gluten reactions need to be treated in emergency rooms
  • 14,000 allergy-related visits in the last year required 400 hospital stays
  • Emergency and hospital visits cost Canadians over $5 million per year
  • The overall household cost of food allergy/gluten reactions is over $5 billion per year

The Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) members are shocked that the beer industry is now criticizing Health Canada’s proposed new labelling of foods and beverages. The beer industry, along with all of Canada’s food industry, has been in consultation with Health Canada for over 10 years about the labelling of allergens in foods. “I have to live with celiac disease every day” says Janet Dalziel, a diagnosed Celiac and CCA President, adding “I expect all the necessary information to be on food and beverage labels to make daily decisions on what is safe to consume”.

A B.C. member wrote, “My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 2 and a half (4 years ago). All her symptoms disappear when she adheres to her diet. The only time she is ‘glutened’ now is from foods that are not labelled properly or cross-contaminated. This legislation is so important for people like Hannah. Every time she is glutened she loses time in school, I lose time from work, and it costs the health care system in visits and tests.”

The beer industry has had ample time to plan for labelling changes. These new regulations will not require a warning statement, as they have stated, and beer will still retain its exemption from complete ingredient labelling, an exemption that the alcoholic beverage industry has enjoyed for decades. The only information they will be required to include on the beer label is the presence of sulphites (if over 10 ppm) and the gluten sources, wheat, barley and rye.

The Canadian Celiac Association and allergy associations in Canada have been working diligently with Health Canada for over 10 years to have legislation passed that will enable Canadians to see, on each and every label, exactly what allergens are present in foods and beverages. This legislation is far too important for Canadians to let the beer industry put it off the rails. The health and safety of millions of Canadians is at stake.

Read an article about the beer industry in the Vancouver Sun.

2011 Kelowna meeting dates set!

Below are our Kelowna meeting dates for 2011:

  • Sunday March 13th, 12 pm
  • Sunday May 1st, 12 pm
  • Sunday June 12th barbecue, 12 pm
  • Sunday September 11th, 12 pm
  • Sunday November 13th, 12 pm
  • Sunday December 4th Christmas dinner, 12 pm

Kelowna meetings are potluck lunches! Bring a gluten-free dish to share as well as your own plates and cutlery to be easy on the environment. We suggest you bring a note to go next to your item to indicate the name of the item and ingredients so those with allergens are aware. We also ask adults for a $2.00 donation per meeting to help with building rental costs.

All meetings are held at noon at the Winfield Seniors Activity Centre, 9832 Bottom Lake Road, Lake Country B.C.

On another note, the Kelowna Chapter urgently needs someone to take over the membership portfolio.
The main duties are keeping track of members. Working with money is not involved. Contact Chapter President Irene Thompson if you are interested.

Cabana Grille offers gluten-free pizza

Cabana Grille, located in Play del Sol across from Manteo in Kelowna, now features gluten-free pizza!

According to restaurant owner Michael Borg, the restaurant has taken the issue of cross contamination seriously.

First, they are using a premade product for their crust. In the kitchen, they place parchment paper on working surfaces so the crust does not come into contact with any potential cross contamination. In the forno oven, the pizza is baked on parchment paper and removed by a clean, washed and sanitized serving paddle.  The pizza is cut  using a separate knife used only for gluten-free flat bread.

Borg says, “We have had training sessions with all of our staff handling this product in the kitchen and will also spend more time on creating awareness with our service staff as to the handling aspects of its preparation.”

The gluten-free pizza is $9.99 on Wednesdays and kids eat free Sunday to Tuesday!  Borg say’s this is a great deal as
the bread is much more expensive than the dough for their regular pizzas.

The gluten-free pizza is also available just as a flat bread.

Click to visit the Cabana Grille website