What are Food Allergies?
Food allergies affect an estimated 3 million Canadians, with approximately half of those being children. You may not have a food allergy in your household, but many of us have someone within our circles that does. If you’ve ever been tasked with providing a “safe snack” for a school activity or a staff party, you know that it’s not as simple as it seems. For starters, do you know the allergens you’re looking to avoid? If so, do you know where to look on the product packaging to make sure it is a safe choice?
If you think that maybe it doesn’t matter, and it’s not really any of your concern, keep in mind that an incident can result in anaphylaxis, a severe and rapid allergic reaction that may result in death.
Let’s start by identifying the “priority allergens”, which are the most common allergens in food as identified by Health Canada.
There are 12 priority allergens to watch out for:
- Crustaceans and molluscs
- Sesame seeds
- Tree Nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts)
- Wheat and triticale / Cereals containing gluten.
The European Union goes a step further, identifying 14 priority allergens, adding celery and lupin to their list.
What to Look For
Many packages lay claim to being “free of” additives, allergens, fats, etc. While this may seem helpful, language used in packaging is often the result of semantics and marketing. For example, a label that says “free of added sugar” might be applied to a product that has naturally occurring sugars. It’s always a good idea to go to the ingredients list, and thoroughly read everything the product contains, especially the “may contain” description which is legally bound to disclose the potential for priority allergens.
Higher Caliber Blends
At High Caliber Products, we aim to stay ahead of the trends and craft the products you love in blends you can use without worry. Our new line, Higher Caliber, features sausage blends without priority allergens. A sausage that everyone can enjoy! Click here to check out our Tangy Mild Pepperoni or here for our Jalapeno Jerky. Both options are a cut above, and are gluten-free too!
We are working on more flavours and options. Click here to sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know when new products, events and tips are released.