Accurate labelling: a moral obligation

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Proper food labelling is not only a legal matter, but also a moral one. For some, improperly declared allergens could be the difference between life and death. With the boom in food distribution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers are not being provided with the information needed to make safe and informed choices.

Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director of the Agri-Food Analytical Sciences Laboratory at Dalhousie University, recently tackled this issue in an article in LaPresse, in which he highlights the importance of proper labelling of allergens and provides some shocking statistics and research results:

  • “We estimate that 3.1 million Canadians have food allergies and over 7 million have food intolerances. That’s a lot of people, and all indications are that this number will increase in the coming years.”
  • “We estimate that more than 3,500 Canadians go into anaphylactic shock each year from eating foods that are contraindicated for them, and many die. With changes in food distribution, some experts say that number could increase in the coming years.”
  • “In 2020, approximately 35% of food recalls in Canada were due to the suspected presence of undeclared allergens in food.”
  • “Among Canadians with a condition, 46.3% believe that food products are correctly labelled, 27.8% believe that food products are not correctly labelled and 25.9% are not sure.”
  • “In total, 57.8% of participants with a medical condition believe that grocers offer enough choices for people with allergies or intolerances, while many other Canadians do not”.

(translated from French)

For the full article (in French):

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