Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires

Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires
Contrôle Allergène Certifié (CAC)

Contrôle Allergène Certifié (CAC)

March 22, 2006 08:18 ET

AQAA/The Only Program of its Kind in the World for Controlling Allergens in Food Products: the Certified Allergen Control Program

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2006) - The Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires (AQAA), in association with its partners, today unveiled the optimal allergen control processed-food Certification Program and its Certified Allergen Control (CAC) Mark of Conformity.

This program, the only one of its kind in the world, is intended for the food processing industry and aims to establish uniformity in allergen control measures in processed foods so that people directly or indirectly affected by food allergies can purchase safer products.

"The Certified Allergen Control Program marks an important step forward for the food processing industry," stated Ms. Claire Dufresne, Executive Director of the Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires. "It constitutes an effective tool for conquering markets where the potential presence of allergens in products is an obstacle. The appearance of the CAC mark on certified products will make it possible for consumers with allergies to buy those products in total confidence. This is a groundbreaking program, since nothing like it exists anywhere else. We are proud to be doing pioneering work in a problem area that has grown steadily over the last 15 years."

The program is the result of an ambitious project launched by the AQAA in association with recognized authorities including Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Bureau de normalisation du Quebec, the Ministere de l'agriculture, des pecheries et de l'alimentation du Quebec and experts from various fields associated with the food industry. In addition, several industry actors including the Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Alliance, the Association of Allergists and Immunologists of Quebec, the Canadian Society of Allergy and Immunology and the Association des detaillants en alimentation du Quebec have all recognized the importance of this undertaking.

"Health Canada has been a pioneer among regulatory agencies in developing measures to help protect consumers allergic to certain foods," stated Canada's Minister of Health, the Honourable Tony Clement. "The AQAA certification program is one example of how government can work with stakeholders such as the food industry and consumer groups to enhance the protection of allergic consumers. Health Canada has provided technical assistance to the AQAA program for more than 18 months and is committed to working with them on future projects."

"Our very keen hope," concluded Ms. Dufresne, is that companies and key food-industry players will join this breakthrough program, which has no equivalent elsewhere in the world."

How the program works

In its first phase, the Certified Allergen Control (CAC) program has focused on the control of four allergens, namely peanuts, milk, almonds and eggs.

To obtain authorization to affix the Certified Allergen Control (CAC) mark of conformity on the packaging material of a product, a manufacturer must comply with the rigorous requirements contained in the optimal allergen control processed-food Certification Program. It must adapt the production and control methods that ensure the absence of undesirable allergenic substances in the targeted products. Regular detection tests must also be carried out by the manufacturer to ensure effectiveness of allergen control measures, and the company must submit to an audit performed by an outside neutral and impartial auditor if it wishes to obtain and keep its certification.

All the details about the program as well as information on certified foods are available on the website www.certification-allergies.com. Consumers may register with a database in order to be kept informed of newly certified products.

The mission of the Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires (AQAA) is to provide support and information on food allergies and anaphylaxis, to promote education and prevention, and to encourage research into these two health problems. Made up of individual, institutional and corporate members, the AQAA was founded in 1990 by the parents of children with multiple severe allergies. To learn more about the AQAA, visit the website www.aqaa.qc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires
    Patricia Keroack
    Head of communications
    (450) 677-6222
    (514) 572-8087
    or
    Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires
    Claire Dufresne
    Executive Director
    (450) 677-6222