June 2014

Source Nutraceutical, Inc. E-Newsletter

Welcome to our E-Newsletter, your “one-stop” for the information you need to ensure success in the Canadian market. Learn about current issues and how they may affect your business, what’s new at Source Nutraceutical, Inc., how we can help you and where you can find us.

nut variety

Source Nutraceutical Knows Where to Look for Allergens – Do You?

What do almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, wheat or triticale, eggs, milk, soybeans, crustaceans, shellfish, fish, sulphites and mustard seeds all have in common? They are all identified as Canada’s priority allergens and must be clearly identified as such on most prepackaged food labels. Although there are other allergens, these ten are the substances that cause the majority (up to 90%) of allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

It is estimated that as many as 2.5 million Canadians (approximately 7% of the population) suffer from one or more food allergies. Symptoms of food allergies can range from red, itchy skin, flushed face, hives or a rash to cramps, diarrhea, vomiting to a drop in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, loss of consciousness and potentially death. Although food allergies are more common in children, anyone can develop a food allergy as time goes on.

There are no cures for food allergies- you can only prevent exposure to the allergen to eliminate the possibility of an allergic reaction. Thus suppliers need to be vigilant in fully disclosing all ingredients, as well as components of ingredients and sensitive consumers need to be vigilant in reading labels and asking questions about the composition of foods that they eat.

So far in 2014 in Canada there have been 57 recalls due to undeclared egg, sulphites, shellfish, sesame seeds, milk, wheat, peanut, almonds, soy, mustard , pistachios, hazelnuts and gluten. Allergen related recalls accounted for more than 50% of all food related recalls. Undisclosed allergens can cause serious harm and even death to your consumers. Inadequate labelling potentially harms your consumer, your brand reputation and your bottom line.

Source Nutraceutical Knows Where to Look for Allergens – Do You?

New food allergen labelling regulations came into force in August 2012, making it easier for sensitive individuals to identify allergens in prepackaged foods and requiring industry to disclose allergen sources in ingredients not previously required to disclose their components. For example, mustard is a priority allergen and must be declared if it is present as an ingredient and/or as a component of an ingredient, e.g. mustard in spice blends. In addition, allergens must be described in everyday language, e.g. casein listed as an ingredient must either be followed by ‘milk’ in brackets or in a ‘Contains…milk’ statement immediately following the list of ingredients. Other changes involving the labelling of sulphites and gluten were also introduced.

What can food manufacturers and importers do?

  • Evaluate your suppliers. Seek out credible, reliable, high quality ingredient and finished product suppliers.
  • Evaluate product formulations.
  • Ask questions.
  • Ask suppliers for ingredient and finished product specifications.
  • Ask specifically whether any of the 9 priority allergens, sulphites and gluten are present in any of the formulations and ingredients.
  • Know where hidden sources of allergens can be found, e.g. maltodextrin from wheat, mustard in spice mixtures, etc.
  • Identify potential sources of cross contamination in manufacturing and packaging sites. You may be required to put a “May contain…” statement on your product label.
  • If in doubt, contact a qualified regulatory consultant for help.

Note that Regulations being created under the Safe Food for Canadians Act will, in general, require licensing of everyone importing, preparing food for export or for inter-provincial trade, or exporting a food for which they are requesting an export certificate. Preventative control programs, that ensure the safety of all food products (including identification of allergens) will be one important component of obtaining a license.

Source Nutraceutical’s team of regulatory and graphic specialists can help you identify sources of allergens and create packaging and labeling to ensure your product complies with all regulatory requirements. Contact Source Nutraceutical today (regulatory@sourcenutra.ca) to learn more about how we can help you protect your consumer and protect your brand.

canada and usa

Beware of regulatory and labelling differences – Canada is not the USA

1. Priority Allergens: Eight versus Ten

The United States has identified eight major allergens whereas Canada has 10 priority allergens. Beware of mustard- mustard is not a priority allergen in the United States and therefore it will not necessarily be flagged on raw material / finished product specifications coming from that country.

2. When is a ‘tree nut’ not a ‘tree nut’?

Did you know that in the United States the definition of ‘tree nut’, for the purposes of allergen labelling, encompasses 18 different types of nuts whereas in Canada the definition only includes 9 different nuts? Can you name them?

3. “Gluten Free”

Unlike in the United States, products containing oats cannot be labelled as “gluten free” in Canada. If they are ‘uncontaminated or pure oats’ then a statement to that effect can be made on the label; however, a gluten free claim cannot be made in Canada. In the United States, as long as the oats contain less than 20 ppm gluten then they can be claimed as gluten free. (Note: the current Canadian policy is under discussion)

4. Foods, Dietary Supplements & Natural Health Products

US food allergen labelling also applies to dietary supplements as they are a subset of foods. In Canada there are no specific regulations regarding the labelling of natural health products and allergens; however, the Natural Health Products Directorate tends to refer to food policies when discussing allergens.

5. Precautionary Labelling

If there is the possibility of cross contamination with food allergens Health Canada and the CFIA are currently recommending that food manufacturers and importers use only one precautionary statement on food labels, and that is,

”may contain [X]”

where X is the name by which the allergen is commonly known. This is not written in regulations.

The US Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act (2004) does not require advisory statements such as “may contain…” nor does it require statements containing any information about possible cross-contamination of the food item.

Protect your consumers! Protect your Brand! Avoid costly recalls and relabelling of product – do it right the first time. Contact Source Nutraceutical today and let us help you evaluate product formulations to identify potential sources of allergens and ensure the correct labelling of your products.

US retail sales of organics grew 11.5% to $35.1bn in 2013 according to the Organic Trade Association

US retail sales of organic products grew 11.5% to $35.1bn in 2013, the strongest growth the industry has seen in five years, according to new data from the Organic Trade Association (OTA), which is predicting even higher growth of 12% this year.


Whatever your regulatory, packaging and/or fulfillment needs are – contact Source Nutraceutical today to learn how we can help you achieve brand success and market penetration in 2014/2015 (info@sourcenutra.ca).

Source Nutraceutical, Inc. is your “one-stop-solution” for regulatory compliance, graphic design, mandatory bilingual (English & French translation) labeling and importation and fulfillment services for foods, natural health products, cosmetics, medical devices and pharmaceutical products in Canada. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get your products to market quickly, compliantly and cost effectively.

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