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What's New


Loblaw Pharmacy Launches Food Allergy Management Assessment Program

As part of our ongoing efforts to create allergy-safe communities, Anaphylaxis Canada is pleased to announce a new partnership with Loblaw Pharmacies on their new Food Allergy Management Assessment program. The program, to be offered in the pharmacies located in Loblaw retail stores, will help educate consumers about food allergies and emergency preparedness. The pharmacists will provide interested customers with:

• allergen wallet cards to help identify food allergens while grocery shopping
• an anaphylaxis emergency plan which provides information to teachers, caregivers and others
• an auto-injector instruction sheet and a personal review of how to correctly use it
• an opportunity to sign up for the REFILLready™ auto-injector expiry date reminder program

For more information on this program, please visit your local Loblaw pharmacy.

Loblaw has also recently launched new peanut-free products and now has more than 80 President’s Choice® brand and no name® peanut-free snacks in their banner stores. For more information on these products, visit

Statement from Anaphylaxis Canada in response to Minister of Health's announcement on food labelling

TORONTO, Feb. 14 /CNW/ - After two decades of tireless advocacy by thousands of Canadians, our organization is very pleased to see the passage of important new regulations that will make food ingredient labels easier to understand. However, we are very disappointed by the federal government's decision to alter the regulations as proposed and provide a special exemption to the brewery industry.

Anaphylaxis Canada is proud to stand with the national medical body for allergy, other patient groups and close to 70% of Canadians who recognize a fundamental principle: all Canadians have a right to know if there is an ingredient in their food or beverages that can harm them.

For the millions of Canadians with food allergies or celiac disease, this knowledge can be the difference between life and death.

The political decision to deviate from this principle by allowing a last minute exemption for the brewery industry - against the advice of medical experts, consumer and health advocates and the government's own departmental advisors - defies logic and raises serious questions about the credibility of its public consultation process.

The federal government can still demonstrate that it is serious about protecting public health by quickly convening a meeting with the brewery industry, patient groups and medical and health policy experts to resolve this outstanding issue.

Our organization will continue to advocate for clear and fair labelling rules for the brewery industry and will advise our members to call individual beer companies for ingredient information should they have questions before purchasing a product. And we encourage all Canadians to learn more about what is in their beer products by visiting

We thank those Members of Parliament who have been vocal in their support of this issue, Health Canada staff for their professionalism, other industry groups that consulted in good faith and are prepared to abide by the new regulations and our community partners for their efforts in this campaign. Finally, we thank the countless Canadians, some of whom have overcome personal tragedy to be leaders in this effort, for supporting clear and fair food and beverage labelling rules.

For further information:

Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting for Anaphylaxis Canada
416-996-0767/ [email protected]
Anne-Marie Flanagan
416-735-3690/ [email protected]


How you can help in the campaign for better food & beverage labelling in Canada:

1. Write your MP (letter below)
2. Like’ us on Facebook
3. Sign the new petition to Prime Minister Harper urging him to pass the regulations now
4. Visit and share  
5. Submit your “Letter to the Editor” (Template of "Letter to the Editor" - word document).   For helpful hints on how to submit a letter to your local newspaper click on “About letters to the Editor
6. Call the Prime Minister’s Office (613-992-4211)
7. Join Allergic Living’s write in campaign 

An open letter to MPs

Dear Member of Parliament,

Re: Proposed Amendments to Enhance the Labelling of Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites

We are writing to ask you to support efforts to pass important new food and beverage labelling regulations. All Canadians deserve to know what is in their food and beverages. For millions of people with celiac disease or at risk of a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, they must know in order to stay safe.

As you may be aware, the federal government announced new labelling rules for food and beverage manufacturers after an extensive public consultation process in July, 2008. In addition to requiring clear and complete labelling for food products, for the first time wine, beer and spirit companies will have to list ingredients that are considered the most common allergens like milk, nuts, fish and wheat as well as gluten and sulphites. But just as these important, potentially life-saving new rules were about to be approved, public opposition from a single powerful lobby group - the beer industry - has put them at risk. Every other food and beverage product already has, or will have product labels providing important information for consumers. But this one industry wants special treatment by receiving an exemption from the new rules. This is not acceptable. In addition, all the regulations are now being delayed and remain at risk if a federal election is called.

The proposed new product labelling rules are supported by doctors, dietitians, consumer advocates and health policy experts. They are also supported by almost 70% of Canadians. More information, including an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by Canada’s leading medical body for allergy as well as celiac and allergy patient groups, can be found in the attached documents or online at

Your vocal support in Parliament is required to persuade the Prime Minister to pass the proposed regulations now.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you.


Laurie Harada, Executive Director
Anaphylaxis Canada
1-866-785-5660  /  [email protected]
Jim McCarthy, Executive Director
Canadian Celiac Association
1-800-363-7296  /  [email protected]

Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Canadian Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Foundation
Allergy/Asthma Information Association
Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires
Fondation québécoise de la maladie coeliaque
Allergic Living Magazine

Download a pdf copy of this letter to MPs


An open letter to the Prime Minister of Canada

February 2, 2011

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Re: Regulatory Project 1220 - Regulations to Enhance the Labelling of Food Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites

Dear Prime Minister,

Two and a half years ago, your government announced plans to ensure more than 2 million Canadians with food allergies and celiac disease would finally have the right to know if the food and beverages they  consume were safe. Beyond the vital public health imperative to reduce the potential for life-threatening  allergic reactions, your government was instilling the principle that all members of the food and beverage industry have a responsibility to declare common allergens.

Many food products currently have ingredient labels that are inaccurate or unclear (e.g. casein means milk).  Alcohol beverages have not been required to declare any potential allergens. At the time of the announcement, your then-Health Minister, Tony Clement, said "these new proposed labelling requirements will provide Canadians with the information they need to manage their own allergies".

After more than a decade of advocating for these changes, your government was the first to act on the concerns of Canadians with food allergies and celiac disease. Our organizations applauded your government’s commitment to public safety then and we are ready to recognize this historic achievement once the proposed regulations are finalized.

Our organizations remain, as we always have, willing to listen. What we are not prepared to do, Prime Minister, is let this once in a generation opportunity be put at risk because of the last minute interventions of a powerful, private, industry lobby.

The proposed regulations are the result of diligent efforts by consumer advocacy groups, medical professionals, industry representatives, policy experts within government and thousands of Canadians who offered their perspectives on various proposals. Significant taxpayer dollars have been spent on this process. Many manufacturers have already spent millions of dollars updating their product labels based on the guidance documents distributed by Health Canada in preparation for the regulatory changes. The hopes of millions of Canadians whose lives and whose children's lives depend on clear and accurate labeling have been raised.

Any major changes to the proposed regulations at this stage - after your Minister of Health committed in writing to us that final approval was imminent - would call into question the very legitimacy of the entire eighteen month public and stakeholder consultation process.

Now, a single industry - the brewery industry is seeking special treatment; treatment afforded to no other food or beverage manufacturer. This is not only unfair, it is unnecessary and it is wrong. Public safety must take precedence over private interest. Consumers with food allergies and celiac disease have a right to know whether a food or beverage contains a substance which could make them ill, or worse, kill them.

The specific argument for an exemption from the regulations for the brewery industry advanced in public reports last week - and in communications with your office - that Canadians do not need to know what is in their beer because everyone already knows, is illogical. How would Canadians know what is in their beer if the industry has never told us? It is not the responsibility of the allergic consumer to guess if there is something in their food or beverage product that may harm them; it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to disclose it! This information is important today, and given brewery industry trends to include various nuts, milk and other allergens in their products, the need will be even greater in the future.

The proposed regulations have widespread public support: a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll reveals close to 70% of Canadians are in favour of them.

All other food and beverage manufacturers have accepted these much needed changes and many are already working on implementation. Similar labelling regulations have already been adopted in many other countries.

Prime Minister, we respect the demands on, and limitations of, government. We have always endeavored to be pragmatic in our approach and consensus-orientated in our advocacy. We remain committed to these ideals as we reach out to both you and the brewery industry.

But Prime Minister, beer companies do not make public policy - you and your government do.

We are prepared to meet with you immediately to review the facts and evidence around the issue of foodlabelling and disclosure of allergens so that these regulations can move quickly towards final approval.

Canadians with food allergies and celiac disease are counting on you to be on their side, just as whenyou promised these regulations in July, 2008.

Respectfully yours,

Dr. Stuart Carr, President
Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Dr. Eric Leith, Chair
Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation
Laurie Harada, Executive Director
Anaphylaxis Canada

Mary Allen, CEO
Allergy/Asthma Information Association
Diane Dubord, Executive Director
Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires

Jim McCarthy, Executive Director
Canadian Celiac Association
Gwen Smith, Editor
Allergic Living Magazine
Mireille Lafond
Directrice générale
Fondation Québécoise de la Maladie Coeliaque


Copies by email:

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, P.C., M.P.
Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building
Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K9
The Honourable Stockwell Day
President of the Treasury Board of Canada
and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Strategic Communications and Ministerial
L'Esplanade Laurier, 9th Floor, East Tower
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R5
The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5
The Honourable Gerry Ritz
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1341 Baseline Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C5

Download a pdf copy of this letter to the Prime Minister.

Also read the;
Letter to the Prime Minister from the Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

Seventy percent of Canadians support no exemptions to proposed food labelling regulations for allergic and celiac consumers

Doctors, consumer and health advocates call on Prime Minister to approve rules now.

Ottawa, February 2nd, 2011 - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being asked to act on the concerns of millions of Canadians with food allergies and celiac disease and listen to the advice of prominent national medical, consumer and health organizations and pass proposed federal food labelling regulations now. The Prime Minister is also encouraged to heed the results of a new public opinion poll showing close to 70% of Canadians want regulations to affect all prepackaged food and beverages and not grant a special exemption for the beer industry.

According to Angus Reid Public Opinion, 67% of Canadians approve of the proposed rules so they apply to all food and beverage companies, while only 21% believe the government should change the proposed rules to exempt the brewery industry from having to declare common allergens, gluten sources and sulphites. A solid majority of Canadians support the proposed regulations across all regional, demographic and education lines.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, groups in support of the Proposed Amendments to Enhance the Labelling of Allergens, Gluten Sources and Added Sulphites argue that consumers have a right to know if there are ingredients in food and beverage products that can trigger a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. They explain why the Prime Minister should reject the last minute opposition to the proposed regulations from the influential multi-national brewery industry and respect the commitment of his own Health Minister to pass these new rules in early 2011. The full letter to the Prime Minister can be read here (below).

After twelve years of advocacy from the community for clearer food labelling, the new regulations were created to make it easier for people to understand food ingredient labels. As there is no way of predicting how severe an allergic reaction may be and no known cure for anaphylaxis, avoidance of allergens is the only means of staying safe. Food allergy is one of the leading causes of potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.

"After 18 months of public and stakeholder consultation and widespread support from consumers, industry and the medical community, it is time for this government to move forward and pass these food labelling regulations now, " said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada and herself the parent of a teen with multiple food allergies.

About the survey:
From January 31 to February 1, 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,023 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error (which measures sampling variability) is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighed according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

For more information please contact:
Christopher Holcroft
Principal, Empower Consulting for Anaphylaxis Canada

Anne-Marie Flanagan

Download a pdf copy of this press release.

Urgent Call to Action
Proposed Food Labelling Regulations May be at Risk

We appreciate your continued support as part of our collective efforts to urge the federal government to give final approval to the proposed food labelling regulations.

As you may have seen on the weekend, several media outlets reported that the beer industry has come out in strong opposition to the proposed regulatory changes. This opposition by a powerful private interest group threatens to derail final approval of the proposed changes by the federal government. We are deeply concerned with this development and that the regulations might not be passed.

As you know, Anaphylaxis Canada and other community stakeholders have been waiting for two and a half years for these regulations to be enacted and this is on top of the 10 year campaign for such changes that preceded it.

The public good must take precedence over powerful private interests.
The only way to counter the influence of powerful business groups like the beer industry is to demonstrate the widespread public support for food labelling changes. We therefore seek your urgent assistance again.

1. If you can, please call Prime Minister Stephen Harper office at (613) 992-4211 as soon as possible.

2. Please join Allergic Living's write-in campaign:

3. Contact your Member of Parliament. Click the link to find your local MP.

Please tell the Prime Minister and your MP that people with food allergies and those who shop for them need clearer food labeling on all food packages and beverage labels. It's a matter of life and death. And public safety is more important than private interests.

Anaphylaxis Canada issued this press release urging the federal government to pass food labelling regulations now:

Thank you again very much for your continued support on this issue.

Anaphylaxis Canada

Cafe Scientifique Seminar on Allergy & Asthma

We are pleased to let you know about an upcoming seminar hosted by AllerGen NCE Inc., as part of their community based program, Café Scientifique. The session is being held on February 8th, 2011, from 6:30 - 8:30pm in Vancouver.

The seminar entitled, "Don't Worry...Breathe Happy! Can Controlling Stress and Our Environment Reduce Allergies and Asthma", is open to the public and includes a prestigious panel of experts in the field of asthma and allergy.

For more information and to register for this event, please visit AllerGen's website at:

For your information
Anaphylaxis Canada

Message on behalf of McMaster University Research Team

Would you like to participate in a research study?

A group of researchers from McMaster University, in collaboration with Anaphylaxis Canada, is conducting a study that involves asking parents or caregivers of children who experienced a FIRST reaction to a food within the past 12 months, to complete an online questionnaire. At this time, the survey is open to Canadian residents only.

The purpose of this questionnaire is to find out the experience of these parents/caregivers during the follow-up visit with a health care professional after their child's first reaction, and to find out what information and support were given to parents/caregivers during this visit.

You have been sent this message because you may be a parent or caregiver of a child who has experienced his or her FIRST allergic reaction within the past 12 months that required medical attention from a healthcare professional.

If you fit this description and are interested to participate, please click on the following link to begin the questionnaire:

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and extremely valuable, as it will contribute to our understanding of what information is currently needed to meet your needs as a parent/caregiver of an allergic child. Your responses are for research purposes only and will be kept strictly confidential.

Thank you very much for your interest in participating in this research project.

Dr. Susan Waserman, MD, FRCPC
Professor of Medicine,
Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,
McMaster University,
Hamilton, ON


New video series launched to help teens manage food allergies

Anaphylaxis Canada is proud to announce the launch of our Why Risk It? Teen Video Series.

This project is one of the key initiatives undertaken by your Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) which is made up of 23 teens and young adults from across the country, ranging in age from 15 to 23 years. This group is responsible for providing input and direction on our youth program, which is geared towards offering resources and support to our most at-risk group for anaphylaxis: pre-teens, teens, and young adults.

The Teen Video Series is a collection of five short clips dealing with common social situations faced by teens:

· Dating with Food Allergies
· Food Allergies and High School
· Dining Out with Food Allergies
· Eating Safely with Food Allergies
· Travelling with Food Allergies

These videos serve as a dynamic resource for the community, including students, families, friends and educators and can be found on our youth website and YouTube.

Anaphylaxis Canada announced the launch of the video series today. See our social media release:

To view these videos directly, please visit Anaphylaxis Canada’s new YouTube channel:

We would like to thank the entire YAP team for their hard work and dedication to the development of these videos. Anaphylaxis Canada would also like to acknowledge the generous support and funding from TD Securities and the Annual Sean Delaney Memorial Golf Classic for this initiative.

Please feel free to share this information with others who would be interested in this exciting new resource.

Anaphylaxis Canada


Urge Prime Minister Harper to keep his government’s promise to Canadians on food labelling legislation NOW.

In July 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government announced new food labelling regulations to make it easier for food allergic Canadians and those who shop for them to read ingredient labels.

Anaphylaxis Canada welcomed the proposed regulations and we worked with them in an 18-month consultation process. However, while the regulations were expected to receive final approval in February of this year we are still waiting. Worse, there is a concern that if these regulations are not approved soon the timeline for such approval will expire and we will have to start over. This is unacceptable.

Anaphylaxis Canada has therefore joined forces with other groups to urge Prime Minister Harper to keep his promise and approve the food labelling regulations now. We need your help, too.

Please write the Prime Minister, Minister of Health, President of the Treasury Board and your local MP (contact information also below) and urge the government to keep its promise.

Include your personal experiences and the importance of clear food labelling in the effort to keep allergic individuals from having an unnecessary and potential severe reaction. Encourage your family and friends to join in on this campaign as well to show their support.

We have provided for your reference a coalition letter that was sent to Prime Minister Harper and further background information on our web site (this page).

We also encourage you to involve your children and have them tell their story. A template they can use to write about their own personal experience can also be found on our site.

With your letters and personal stories, we can make a difference - as we have in the past - and finally ensure these new food labelling regulations are approved. Please copy us on your correspondence at [email protected]

Thank you for your support!
Anaphylaxis Canada


Contact Information:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2
Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Email: [email protected]
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, P.C., M.P.
Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building
Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0K9
Telephone: (613) 992-2848
Fax: (613) 996-9764
Email: [email protected]
The Honourable Stockwell Day
President of the Treasury Board of Canada and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Strategic Communications and Ministerial Affairs
L'Esplanade Laurier, 9th Floor, East Tower
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0R5
Telephone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995-1154
EMail: [email protected]

Your local MP’s contact information can be found here:


Letters & Resources

News Release from Anaphylaxis Canada

New research shows food allergy is an increasingly important public health issue.

With summer holidays and children’s camps now underway, greater awareness
and education is needed

Toronto, July 20, 2010 - A new Canadian research study shows that serious food allergies affect up to 7.5% of Canadians, representing 1.9 million individuals. The study - Surveying Canadians to Assess the Prevalence of Common Food Allergies and Attitudes towards Food Labelling and Risk (SCAAALAR) - conducted by a Canadian research team lead by Dr. Ann Clarke, was published last month in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. (The study was supported by AllerGen NCE Inc. and Health Canada.)

"This study highlights that more and more Canadians must to learn to live with the daily challenges of serious food allergy,” said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada and herself the mother of a teenager with multiple food allergies. "It also reaffirms the importance of being vigilant and knowing what to do in the case of a reaction."

As summer is now underway and plans for family holidays and children’s camps unfold, understanding the seriousness of food allergies is a critical step to ensuring a safe and happy time for all. As the number of children with food allergies rises, so too does the need for many people to be prepared to respond to an allergic emergency. In fact, more than 50% of Canadians know someone with a food allergy. While allergic individuals must take responsibility for their condition, awareness and support of the community are key to keeping people, especially children, safe.

Anaphylaxis Canada recommends some key proactive measures to help lessen the risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction. By following a few simple steps, everyone can enjoy a safe summer.

For individuals and parents of children with food allergies:
• Bring your own food
• Read ingredient labels
• Wear MedicAlert® identification
• Carry an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen® or Twinject®) at all times; and have a back-up auto-injector if possible
• If you are travelling know the location of the closest local hospital or emergency services

For families, neighbours, camp counsellors and members of the community:
• Ask your guests in advance about any food allergies
• Have a complete list of ingredients for all foods readily available
• Avoid cross-contamination of foods and wash dishes/utensils thoroughly
• Know how to use an auto-injector in case of an emergency"Anaphylaxis Canada hopes this new information will stimulate a wider, better informed and more empathetic discussion on food allergies and their effect on families,” added Harada.

For more information please contact:
Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting
For Anaphylaxis Canada
(c) 416-996-0767/ [email protected]

News Release from Anaphylaxis Canada

Anaphylaxis Canada welcomes Parliament's declaration
of May as Food Allergy Awareness Month

"It means so much to me" - Sara Shannon,
whose daughter Sabrina died of an allergic reaction

Toronto, May 4, 2010 - Anaphylaxis Canada applauds Parliament’s motion recognizing Food Allergy Awareness Month and will be commemorating the occasion by promoting a number of initiatives intended to support the 1.3 million Canadians who live with food allergies. This is the first year such a month has been designated in Canada and will now be a permanently recognized occasion. Several other countries including the US, UK, Italy, New Zealand and Australia have similar declarations.

"The declaration of Food Allergy Awareness Month is a significant step in the ongoing effort to educate the public about food allergies," said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada and herself the mother of a teenager with multiple food allergies. "We are thrilled that all political parties united to support this motion and thank MP Cheryl Gallant for moving the motion."

Food allergy is a growing public health issue in Canada. More than fifty percent of Canadians know someone with a food allergy. While allergic individuals must take responsibility for their condition, awareness and support of the community are key to keeping people, especially children, safe. Without treatment, anaphylaxis, the most severe form of an allergic reaction, can cause death.

In the visitor’s gallery to watch Parliament vote on the motion was allergy advocate Sara Shannon. Sara’s daughter, Sabrina, had her own advocacy efforts tragically cut short by a fatal anaphylactic reaction in 2003 when she was just 13 years old.

" This means so much to me," said Sara Shannon, "and it would have meant so much to Sabrina. In her short life Sabrina experienced many parts of Canada, from the mountains of British Columbia to the beautiful city of Montreal. She would want everyone to share in this country’s beauty and possibility and would therefore be very pleased that the serious issues around food allergies are getting attention from our federal lawmakers."

Anaphylaxis Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those at risk for anaphylaxis and those who care for them. We are committed to creating a safer world for people with food allergies through research, education and advocacy. More information can be found at

For more information please contact:
Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting for Anaphylaxis Canada
416-996-0767 / [email protected]

To access a PDF of this press release please click here.

Open letter from Sara Shannon

Dear friends,

I know that many of you are upset with the article "It’s just nuts". I am, too. As you know, I lost my only child, Sabrina, to an allergic reaction when she was 13. My daughter, an advocate from an early age, would have been extremely disappointed that adults at Chatelaine made light of a children's health issue. She would have wanted them to learn more about the facts and Sabrina's Law.

You can see my letter which I've asked Anaphylaxis Canada to post on its website. Please feel free to share my letter with others.

Click here to view my letter:

I would like you to help me keep my promise to Sabrina to educate others about food allergies.

Please share your thoughts on the article with the executives of Rogers Publishing, who publish Chatelaine magazine:

Mr. Brian Segal
President & CEO
Rogers Publishing
[email protected]

Ms. Kerry Mitchell
Vice-President & Publisher
Consumer Publishing Group
[email protected]

Copy to:
Ms. Maryam Sanati
[email protected]

I would appreciate if you could copy me as well.

Thank you -

Sara Shannon
Sabrina’s Mom & Allergy Advocate
[email protected]

Anaphylaxis Canada Press Release


Anaphylaxis Canada hopes article from medical journal slows advance of "myth” theory

November 16, 2009, Toronto - A newly published article provides further evidence that the prevalence of food allergies among children is increasing. The article, "Food Allergy Among Children in the United States” appears in the December issue of Pediatrics, a US medical journal. According to the study, 3.9% of children under 18 had a food allergy, an 18 percent increase from 1997-2007. In addition, visits to ambulatory facilities related to food allergies nearly tripled between 1993-1997 and 2003-2006. While the evidence is based on American studies, Canadian trends with respect to the percentage of children affected by food allergy are thought to mirror those of the US, given similarities in lifestyle. A food allergy prevalence study initiated by AllerGen, the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network and co-sponsored by Health Canada, is expected to be released next year.

Anaphylaxis Canada, the national non-profit advocacy organization, hopes the new report will help debunk the growing trend in some quarters to question the prevalence and severity of food allergy. The latest example is from an article in the December issue of Chatelaine magazine entitled "It’s just nuts” which infuriated many families with children at risk of anaphylaxis, including Sara Shannon who lost her daughter Sabrina to an anaphylactic reaction in 2003. An open letter from Sara to Chatelaine’s publishers is posted on our website at 

"Peanut allergy is not a myth”, says Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada and the mother of an allergic teen, "nor is allergy to many other foods that are a staple of North American diets. Publication of this study is the latest evidence that food allergy and the life-threatening reactions it can cause is a growing public health concern.”

The results of this study do not come as a surprise to Anaphylaxis Canada. For more than a decade, the organization has been responding to public concern over allergies with a number of initiatives including working with provincial ministries of education to develop anaphylaxis management programs in schools, advocating for changes to Canada’s food labelling regulations and launching a special website for youth with food allergies.

"Anaphylaxis Canada will continue to work with families, schools and communities to develop reasonable measures to deal with the reality of increasing food allergy among children,” said Harada. "The bottom line is about keeping our kids safe”.

Anaphylaxis Canada is a non-profit organization created by and for people at-risk of anaphylaxis. We are committed to creating a safer world for people with food allergies through research, education and advocacy. Our approach to reducing the risk of anaphylactic reactions in both children and adults is based on self-management, community engagement, understanding and respect. For more information please visit

To arrange an interview or for more information, please contact:

Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting, for Anaphylaxis Canada
[email protected]

Anaphylaxis Canada’s Response to Allergy Article in Chatelaine 

Anaphylaxis Canada is pleased to inform you that we have submitted a formal letter to the editor of Chatelaine magazine outlining the issues and concerns we have with the article entitled "It’s just nuts”, appearing in the December 2009 issue of the magazine.
A copy of our rebuttal letter can be found here: Chatelaine Rebuttal

The December issue of the magazine is now available on most newsstands and we encourage you to read the article and submit your letters or comments directly to the magazine at

We have also begun a thread on the magazine's online discussion forum under the "health” section. Our comments and the threads can be found here:  

In commenting on this article we encourage you to be factual, respectful and provide as much direct, personal perspective as possible.  We hope that our letter will provide the magazine and its writers with a better perspective on the seriousness of food allergies and the need for a collaborative effort within our communities to help provide a safer environment for all those at risk.

Beatrice Povolo
Director, Programs & Services
Anaphylaxis Canada

BC Election Update

May 12th, 2009 is Election Day in British Columbia.

Elections are a valuable opportunity to raise awareness with political parties about anaphylaxis and the food safety challenges those at-risk and their families face.

Anaphylaxis Canada is engaging in the election campaign on behalf of our members by creating a questionnaire on some key issues (allergy testing, education and daycare policies) and asking the major political parties (Liberals, NDP, Green Party) for their responses.

We are pleased to inform you that all three parties answered our questionnaire. Their responses are posted below for you to review. We encourage you to consider these responses as part of your voting decision.

Liberals Response (pdf)
NDP Response (pdf)
Green Party Response (pdf)

To find out who the candidates are in your riding or for more on the election please visit the Elections BC website at:

Thank you.

Anaphylaxis Canada

Toronto Star - Allergies & Asthma Section
Thursday May 7, 2009

"Sting led to a hornet’s nest of trouble"- Dr. Hummel

"Baker’s flour allergy a recipe for career disaster"- Scott Dion

"When reading the label can save a life"- Lee Parpart & daughter & 6-year old Bridget Wadden

"Research promising, but solution is still years away" - Shelly Mackie & 8-year old Charlie Mackie.

"New website warns teens, young adults" - Kyle Dine & 18-year old Bridget Yard

"A star’s message to allergic teens" - Lauren Collins (right hand side)

"Creating allergy action plan soothes a mother's anxiety" - Karen Danard & 14-year old Issac Eng

Anaphylaxis Canada is pleased to announce that May 4th - 8th, 2009 has been declared as "National Food Allergy Awareness Week" by the Parliament of Canada.

A motion moved by MP Cheryl Gallant received all party support in the House of Commons on April 28, 2009. The motion is also a result of efforts by MP Gerard Kennedy. We thank all parties for their support of this declaration.

This is the first year that we have had this designation made in Canada. To commemorate this week we have a number of initiatives planned to help increase awareness of managing food allergies and educating the community on the issues faced by those at risk for anaphylaxis.

Highlights of the week:
Anaphylaxis Canada launch of new teen website:
Check out the first website of its kind in Canada dedicated to providing resources and tools for pre-teens, teens and young adults living with severe allergies. Official launch date: May 6th, 2009

Toronto Star special report on Allergies & Asthma
Special feature to be published on May 7th, 2009

Today's Parent Award
Anaphylaxis Canada is proud to have been selected by Today's Parent magazine for their "Reader with a Cause" award for the month of May. Thank you to Laurie Prentice, an Anaphylaxis Canada member, for nominating us for this award. Check out this months issue for more details.

Support Group Grants
Anaphylaxis Canada is pleased to offer a grant to all our subscribing support groups to help fund local initiatives. For all current group leaders please contact us for more information on how to apply.

To join a local support group in your area visit

How can you get involved?
Be an Allergy Ambassador in your community. Here's how:

Log on to the Anaphylaxis Learning Centre at to view our new educational webcast series. Share the link with others in your community who may be interested in learning more about managing severe allergies (i.e. teachers, caregivers, family & friends).

Be prepared:
• Learn how to use an epinephrine auto-injector properly. Teach others as well. Go to or for more information.

•Wear MedicAlert identification. For more details visit

•Nominate your school or daycare facility for their work on keeping children safe. Tell us how they have made a difference in your community. Click here to submit your story:

•Issue a challenge! Ask your family and friends to 'live in your shoes' for a day. Assign them an 'allergy' to live with for 24hrs. To download allergy brochures go to

•Work with your school or daycare to ensure they have their anaphylaxis policies in place and are up to date.

•Become a member of Anaphylaxis Canada today! Visit to see how and what benefits you can receive through your membership.

•Spread the word and help educate others on the importance of managing anaphylaxis in your community. Click here to order brochures, posters or bookmarks free of charge:

However you choose to promote Food Allergy Awareness Week, get involved and make a difference in your community!

Thank you.
Anaphylaxis Canada

Anaphylaxis Canada responds to controversial Media stories on management of food allergies.

There have been a number of recent media articles written regarding the management of food allergies within the community. These articles have raised some serious concerns regarding the perception of allergic individuals and how they are impacted by this condition. Anaphylaxis Canada felt it was necessary to provide feedback on these stories and the impact they have had on the overall allergic community.

Please see the media articles listed below and the accompanying responses from Anaphylaxis Canada.

Media Articles:

1) Canadian Free Press- December 9, 2009, "Is fear of nut and other food allergies creating hysteria?"
Anaphylaxis Canada Response

2) Ottawa Citizen- January 30, 2009, "Allergy scares are making people nuts".
Anaphylaxis Canada Response:

3) National Post- Saturday, February 7, 2009, "Food bans: healthy or hysterical"
Anaphylaxis Canada Response:

Anaphylaxis Canada concerned about patient health and safety in British Columbia

It has recently come to our attention that the Government of British Columbia is proposing significant amendments to the "Allergy” Section of the Naturopathic Physicians Regulation. These changes would permit naturopaths to administer challenge tests for allergy as well as provide desensitization treatment to patients, responsibilities that should only be performed by trained physicians. (The document is available at - refer to sections 5 (l) k and l.)

Anaphylaxis Canada has written the Minister of Health seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the proposed amendments in our own letter as well as in a joint letter with a number of allergy and medical associations. Both letters can be downloaded:

Anaphylaxis Canada letter to B.C. Health Minister (pdf)
Letter to the Honourable George Abbott (pdf)

As individuals with a vested interest in safety for people at risk of anaphylaxis, we are calling on you for your support. We must work to ensure all individuals are given the right scientific evidence for diagnostic testing and treatment for allergy.

For your convenience, we have provided a template letter below which you can adapt with your own personal comments. Please send your comments by email to:

Minister of Health Services, George Abbott:
[email protected]
cc: [email protected]

MS WORD template of Letter to Minister of Health Services George Abbott (doc)

As this matter is urgent, we would appreciate your voicing your concern today!

Anaphylaxis Canada’s Submission on the Proposed Food Labelling Regulations

AC Submission - Food Labelling - Nov. 28/08 (pdf)

Appendix A - Focus Groups Summary (pdf)

Appendix B - Webcast Participant Summary (pdf)

Government of Canada Announces Proposed New Labelling Requirements - July 23/08

We are pleased to inform you of an announcement made this afternoon by The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, related to labelling requirements for specific food allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites in pre-packaged foods. As things move forward in the regulatory process we will continue to work with government and other stakeholders to address food labelling issues in Canada and will keep you updated on this important initiative.

Click here to see Health Canada’s press release:
Government of Canada Announces Proposed New Labelling Requirements to Protect Health of Canadians

Download our press release:
Grocery Shopping to be Safer for Millions of Canadians: Clearer food labelling requirements welcomed by Anaphylaxis Canada

On behalf of the team at Anaphylaxis Canada, thank you all for making your voices heard. Together, we are making a difference!

Laurie Harada
Executive Director
Anaphylaxis Canada

Urge Prime Minister Harper to pass food labelling legislation NOW.

Anaphylaxis Canada has joined forces with other groups to urge Prime Minister Harper to pass food labelling legislation. As you know, this issue has been stalled for years. We have provided for your reference a letter to the Prime Minster which was sent by all of the allergy associations in Canada and the Canadian Celiac Association. You can also see the PowerPoint presentation we made as a delegation to Health Minister Tony Clement’s senior staff in April 2007.

With your letters and personal stories, we can make a difference in keeping this issue "top of mind”. We are also working with Allergic Living magazine in a letter writing campaign. Go to their website - - and click on the box Food Allergen Label Law - where you can submit a letter to the Prime Minister. Together, we can make a difference in keeping this food labelling issue "top of mind”.

Presentation given to Health Canada
Food Labelling Presentation April 11/07

Letter to Prime Minister from Associations
Letter to Prime Minister June 11/08
2008 Anaphylaxis Canada Updates:

Results from the Anaphylaxis Canada Survey.
Click here.

Would you like better food labelling?

Help us pass new legislation. Write to Health Canada.

Make your voice heard.  We need your help to urge Health Canada to pass amendments to Canada's Food and Drug Regulations.  The amendents are intended to make allergen labelling on foods clearer and more complete. 

For more information about the amendments and where to send your letter, click on the PDF file; food_labelling.pdf
Sample letter in MS Word



On January 1, 2006, it became law for all school boards in Ontario to have standards in place to protect children at risk for anaphylaxis.
Bill 3: An Act to protect anaphylactic pupils ("Sabrina’s Law”) requires schools to reduce the risks of causative allergens, identify children with life-threatening allergies, establish emergency measures to treat a reaction, provide regular staff training in the use of epinephrine, and ensure school-wide communication of the standards.

For more details please go to
Bill 3 - Sabrina's Law 


The guidelines provide key recommendations for the management and treatment of anaphylaxis in the community and include user-friendly tools and resources in non-medical terminology for people at risk, parents, educators and caregivers. They were developed by five non-profit allergy organizations:
• Allergy / Asthma Information Association
• Anaphylaxis Canada (project lead)
• Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires
• Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation
• Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
A print/hard copy is available through our product catalogue for $15 (plus S&H). Proceeds help fund educational services and resources for anaphylaxis.


In January 2006, Anaphylaxis Resource Kits were sent to all school boards and publicly funded schools in the province by Deputy Minister Ben Levin (approx. 4,800 kits).  The kits, developed by Anaphylaxis Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Education, include a copy of the new anaphylaxis guidelines, awareness and emergency response procedure posters and epinephrine auto-injector training devices. The same kits were sent to all 36 public health units by Dr. Sheela Basrur, Chief Medical Officer of Health in order to "support consistency between health and education”.



The Ontario Ministry of Education partnered with TVOntario and Anaphylaxis Canada to create a web-based e-learning module that school boards, principals, teachers and other school staff can access to learn more about anaphylaxis so they can act in accordance with Sabrina’s Law. This resource, which is available in English and French, is available to the general public.
Content for the website is based on Anaphylaxis in Schools & Other Settings.


Based on the anaphylaxis guidelines, this new website has been designed to help people access information and resources for managing anaphylaxis. This is a "communal website” developed in collaboration by the five allergy associations which developed Anaphylaxis in Schools & Other Settings.


The Canadian Anaphylaxis Registry is a free information service provided by Anaphylaxis Canada. Individuals with life-threatening allergies can sign up to receive information that will help keep them safe: food and product updates, management tips, and research updates. General data will be used to support advocacy initiatives in schools, food industry, and medical community. Sign up on-line today!

  • Anaphylaxis Canada, 2005 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario M2J 5B4,
    Fax: 416-785-0458 or [email protected]

Last date modified on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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I Enjoy a Great Life
To look at me, I am a perfectly normal kid. I enjoy rock climbing, horseback riding and I play the drums, but I suffer from anaphylaxis.

This is a life-threatening allergic reaction. In my case it is an allergy to nuts, seeds and coconut.

I'd like everybody who reads this to take allergies seriously. Any kid who has trouble coping should just remember that we're all special and that my allergies don't stop me from participating and enjoying life.
What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis (anna - fill -axis) is a serious allergic reaction. It can be life-threatening. Food is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, but insect stings, medicine, latex, or exercise can also cause a reaction. The commonest food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, egg and milk products.