Monday, July 13, 2009

Certified Allergen Control

Reading labels is a familiar practice when you live with food allergies. I’ve mentioned a few times before the many different ways that manufacturers list allergen information in Canada (under the Food label at the right).

However, I was not familiar with the method for labelling allergens on products manufactured within the province of Québec. We recently found the Leclerc brand of soft-baked cookies, which the boys love.


These little (25g) cookie packages have the familiar peanut with the “No” symbol on the bottom left corner, next to the branding CAC, which stands for Contrôle Allergène Certifié – or Certified Allergen Control. A quick search on the Internet brought me to the program’s official site, which was developed by the Québec Food Allergy Association to recognize products in which their manufacturing process was highly controlled (the CAC program does not use the term “peanut-free”).

The four allergens currently tested for by the program are:

  • almonds
  • peanuts
  • milk
  • eggs

Participation in the program is voluntary, so not all products labelled as “peanut-free” are automatically included. Again, this underscores the need for a common labelling standard, but this method of certifying products is certainly appreciated. Check out their list of certified foods here.

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