2009-2010 Undeclared Allergens in Infant Formulas and Foods

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.

The main objective of the allergens in infant formulas and infant foods survey was:

  • To gain an understanding of undeclared priority allergens in infant formulas and foods manufactured for infants under twelve months of age.

A total of 200 infant formulas and food products marketed for infants less than one year of age were collected and analyzed. The samples represented a range of products often included in an infant's diet. These included milk-based, soy-based and non-milk/non-soy formulas, cereals, and foods containing fruit(s), vegetable(s), milk and meat. The samples were analyzed to determine if they contained quantifiable levels of four allergens: peanut, soy, egg, milk (casein and beta-lactoglobulin), as well as gluten.

The samples were compliant with current legislation. Three of the rice cereal samples contained low levels of quantifiable gluten likely from cross contamination; the levels were determined by Health Canada as unlikely to cause an adverse health effect. One sample, a fruit based dessert, contained a low level of quantifiable milk protein. This product was assessed by Health Canada as unlikely to cause an adverse health effect. All positive samples were referred for follow up with the company so they could address the issue.

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