Government of Canada Helps Grain Sector Develop Gluten-free Products

Kelowna, British Columbia, May 26, 2012 - The Harper Government is helping to boost the availability of gluten-free foods to meet growing market demand. Member of Parliament Ron Cannan (Kelowna-Lake Country), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced today an investment of $245,000 to the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) to enhance existing food safety systems to include specific controls for gluten-free foods.

"Food safety is a priority for this government, and this is another example of enhancing national, government-recognized food safety systems for Canadian products," said MP Cannan. "This investment will help provide consumers with the gluten-free foods they need and boost consumer confidence in Canadian food."

The CCA works to increase awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and it provides advice and information to manufacturers and distributors on gluten-free foods. This investment will help the CCA work with ExcelGrains Canada, a farm food safety program for grain farmers managed by the Canada Grains Council, as well as the Packaging Association of Canada and the Canadian Health Food Association to develop specific controls and the supporting tools for each of their existing food safety systems.

These specific controls-or "modules"-will help remove the risk of gluten contamination in grains, packaging materials, and bakery products, benefiting the entire value chain. Once developed, these controls will be adaptable and transferrable to other industry stakeholders across the country.

"On behalf of the nearly three million Canadians who suffer from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, I'd like to thank the federal government for their contribution of financial support," said Jim McCarthy, Executive Director of the CCA. "It's very important for consumers, government and industry to work together to ensure that foods labeled "gluten-free" truly are safe for the consumers who need them. For these consumers, the only treatment is a 100% gluten-free diet, which is very difficult to achieve at present."

This federal Growing Forward investment is being made through the Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative. The Government of Canada is helping organizations develop national, government-recognized on-farm and/or post-farm hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) or HACCP-based food safety systems. To find out more about this initiative, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/cifsi.

For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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