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Catherine Yeulet

New Canadian food labelling rules take effect Aug. 4. Manufacturers of prepackaged, processed foods must list certain ingredients that could trigger allergic reactions in susceptible consumers. That means they will have to declare the presence of peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, wheat and triticale, eggs, milk, soybeans, crustaceans, shellfish, fish and mustard seeds. As well, gluten sources and sulphite additives will have to be listed on the package.

In the past, companies could simply say a product contained "spice" or "flavouring," without revealing some of the specific ingredients such as mustard.

The new rules have been years in the making and follow consultations with health groups, consumer advocates and industry representatives. Many companies changed their packaging long ago, in anticipation of the new regulations.

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