2011-2012 Undeclared Allergens and Gluten in Children's Food

Executive Summary

The Food Safety Action Plan (FSAP) aims to modernize and enhance Canada's food safety system. As part of the FSAP enhanced surveillance initiative, targeted surveys are used to evaluate various foods for specific hazards.

A wide variety of pre-packaged foods typically consumed by children are available on the Canadian market. These foods include baked goods, cereals, cookies, crackers, granola bars, ready-to-eat meals and puddings.

The main objective of the undeclared allergens in children's food survey was:

  • To obtain baseline information regarding the presence and levels of undeclared priority allergens and gluten in children's food.
  •  To identify potential food safety concerns relating to undeclared allergens in children's food.

A total of 304 foods were sampled and analysed for undeclared soy, egg, milk (beta-lactoglobulin and casein), peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sesame and gluten. The majority of the samples were analyzed for more than one undeclared allergen and/or gluten. There were 1846 analyzes completed on the 304 samples. Of the 15 positive results (15/1846, 0.8%) there was; 1 almond, 1 sesame, 2 gluten and 11 soy. There was no undeclared egg, milk (beta-lactoglobulin and casein), peanuts or hazelnuts found in any of the samples.

All positive results were followed up by CFIA. Follow up action may involve a food safety investigation, including a health risk assessment conducted by Health Canada and a recall or one of the following: notification of manufacturer/importer and/or additional sampling.

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