Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

March 29, 2007 11:02 ET

CFIA/Notice to Food Editors

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 29, 2007) - As part of an ongoing effort to increase consumer awareness about common food allergens, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is distributing the attached allergen fact sheet regarding Eggs. The information highlights the symptoms of an allergic reaction and addresses key information about the specific allergen.

The CFIA is also distributing the food safety fact sheet for Salmonella. These tips are designed to help consumers avoid foodborne illnesses.

You can view these fact sheets, along with additional food safety information, on the CFIA Web site at

For more information, or to speak with a food safety spokesperson, please contact our Media Relations office at (613) 228-6682.
Thanks for helping us get these important food safety messages to consumers.


One of the nine most common food allergens

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions are severe adverse reactions that occur when the body's immune system overreacts to a particular allergen. These reactions may be caused by food, insect stings, latex, medications and other substances. In Canada, the nine priority food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish), soy, wheat and sulphites (a food additive).

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

When someone comes in contact with an allergen, the symptoms of a reaction may develop quickly and rapidly progress from mild to severe. The most severe form of an allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure or shock, which may result in loss of consciousness and even death. A person experiencing an allergic reaction may have any of the following symptoms
- Flushed face, hives or a rash, red and itchy skin
- Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, throat and tongue
- Trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing
- Anxiety, distress, faintness, paleness, sense of doom, weakness
- Cramps, diarrhea, vomiting
- A drop in blood pressure, rapid heart beat, loss of consciousness

How are food allergies and severe allergic reactions treated?

Currently there is no cure for food allergies. The only option is complete avoidance of the specific allergen. Appropriate emergency treatment for anaphylaxis (a severe food allergy reaction) includes an injection of adrenaline, which is available in an auto-injector device. Adrenaline must be administered as soon as symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear. The injection must be followed by further treatment and observation in a hospital emergency room. If your allergist has diagnosed you with a food allergy and prescribed adrenaline, carry it with you all the time and know how to use it. Follow your allergist's advice on how to use an auto-injector device.

Frequently asked questions about egg allergies

I have an egg allergy. How can I avoid an egg-related reaction?

Avoid all food and products that contain egg and egg derivatives. These include any product whose ingredient list warns it "may contain" or "may contain traces of" egg.

Can an egg allergy be outgrown?

Studies show that most children outgrow their egg allergy by three years of age. However, a severe egg allergy can last a lifetime. Consult your allergist before reintroducing egg products.

Can a person who is allergic to raw eggs eat cooked eggs?

Usually not. While cooking can alter the protein of a raw egg, it may not be sufficient to prevent a reaction. Consult your allergist before experimenting.

Are flu and MMR shots safe for someone with an egg allergy?

Influenza vaccines are grown on egg embryos and may contain a small amount of egg protein. Consult your allergist before getting a flu shot. Although the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine may contain egg protein, it is considered safe for children.

How can I determine if a product contains egg or egg derivatives?

Always read the ingredient list carefully. Egg and egg derivatives can often be present under different names, e.g., albumin. For other common ingredient label names, refer to the list below.

What do I do if I am not sure whether a product contains egg or egg derivatives?

If you have an egg allergy, do not eat or use the product. Get ingredient information from the manufacturer.

Does product size affect the likelihood of an allergic reaction?

It does not affect the likelihood of a reaction; however, the same brand of product may be safe to consume for one product size but not another. This is because product formulation may vary between different product sizes of the same product.

Avoiding egg and egg derivatives

Make sure you read product labels carefully to avoid products that contain egg and egg derivatives. Avoid food and products that do not have an ingredient list and read labels every time you shop. Manufacturers may occasionally change their recipes or use different ingredients for varieties of the same brand. Refer to the following list before shopping:

Other names for eggs

Egg substitutes, e.g., Egg Beaters®
Ovolactohydrolyze proteins
Ovomucin, ovomucoid

Possible sources of eggs

Note: Avoid all food and products that contain egg in the ingredient
list, e.g., powdered egg. The terms "ovo" and "albumin" mean the
product contains egg.

Alcoholic cocktails/drinks

Baby food

Baked goods and baking mixes, e.g., breads, cakes, cookies,
doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, pastries, pretzels
Battered/fried foods
Confectionary, e.g., candy, chocolate
Cream-filled pies, e.g. banana, chocolate, coconut
Creamy dressings, salad dressings, spreads, e.g., mayonnaise, Caesar
salad dressing, tartar sauce
Desserts, e.g., custard, dessert mixes, ice cream, meringue, pudding,
Egg/fat substitutes
Fish mixtures, e.g., surimi (used to make imitation crab/lobster meat)
Foam/milk topping on coffee
Homemade root beer, malt drink mixes
Icing, glazes, e.g., egg wash on baked goods, nougat
Meat mixtures, e.g., hamburger, hot dogs, meatballs, meatloaf,
salami, etc.
Orange Julep®, Orange Julius® (orange juice beverages)
Pasta, e.g., egg noodles
Quiche, souffle
Sauces, e.g., bearnaise, hollandaise, Newburg
Soups, broths, bouillons
Non-food sources of eggs
Anesthetic, e.g., Diprivan® (propofol)
Certain vaccines, e.g., MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
Craft materials
Hair care products

Note: These lists are not complete and may change. Food and food
products purchased from other countries, through mail-order or the
Internet, are not always produced using the same manufacturing and
labelling standards as in Canada.

What can I do?

Be informed

See an allergist and educate yourself about food allergies. Contact your local allergy association for further information.

If you or anyone you know has food allergies or would like to receive information about food being recalled, sign up for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) free e-mail "Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts" notification service available at When you sign up you will automatically receive food recall public warnings.

Before eating

Allergists recommend that if you do not have your auto-injector device with you, that you do not eat. If an ingredient list says a product "may contain" or "does contain" egg or egg derivatives, do not eat it. If you do not recognize an ingredient or there is no ingredient list available, avoid the product.

Watch out for allergen cross contamination!

Cross contamination is the transfer of an ingredient (food allergen) to a product that does not normally have that ingredient in it. Through cross contamination, a food that should not contain the allergen could become dangerous to eat for those who are allergic.

Cross contamination can happen:

- during food manufacturing through shared production and packaging equipment;

- at retail through shared equipment, e.g., cheese and deli meats sliced on the same slicer; and through bulk display of food products, e.g., bins of baked goods, bulk nuts; and

- during food preparation at home or in restaurants through equipment, utensils and hands.

What is the Government of Canada doing about food allergens?

The Government of Canada is committed to providing safe food to all Canadians. The CFIA and Health Canada work closely with municipal, provincial and territorial partners and industry to meet this goal.

The CFIA enforces Canada's labelling laws and works with associations, distributors, food manufacturers and importers to ensure complete and appropriate labelling of all foods. The CFIA recommends that food companies establish effective allergen controls to prevent the occurrence of undeclared allergens and cross-contamination. The CFIA has developed guidelines and tools to aid them in developing these controls. When the CFIA becomes aware of a potential serious hazard associated with a food, such as undeclared allergens, the food product is recalled from the marketplace and a public warning is issued. The CFIA has also published several advisories to industry and consumers regarding allergens in food.

Health Canada has worked with the medical community, consumer associations, and the food industry to enhance labelling regulations for priority allergens, gluten sources and sulphites in pre-packaged food sold in Canada. Health Canada is proposing to amend the Food and Drug Regulations to require that the most common food and food ingredients that cause life-threatening or severe allergic reactions are always identified by their common names allowing consumers to easily recognize them.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on:

- food allergies;

- ordering free copies of this pamphlet; and

- subscribing to the free "Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts" e-mail notification service,

visit the CFIA Website at or call 1 800 442-2342/TTY 1 800 465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

Below are some organizations that can provide additional allergy information:

Allergy/Asthma Information Association

Anaphylaxis Canada

Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires (French only)

Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (English only)

Health Canada

Developed in consultation with Allergy/Asthma Information Association, Anaphylaxis Canada, Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires, Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Health Canada.

Cat. No. A104-27/4-2005E

ISBN 0-662-40353-3


Salmonella Food Safety Facts

Preventing foodborne illness

What is foodborne illness?

Food contaminated by bacteria, viruses and parasites can make you sick. Many people have had foodborne illness and not even known it. It's sometimes called food poisoning, and it can feel like the flu. Symptoms may include the following:

- stomach cramps

- nausea

- vomiting

- diarrhea

- fever

Symptoms can start soon after eating contaminated food, but they can hit up to a month or more later. For some people, especially young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, foodborne illness can be very dangerous.

Public health experts estimate that there are 11 to 13 million cases of foodborne illness in Canada every year. Most cases of foodborne illness can be prevented by using safe food handling practices and using a food thermometer to check that your food is cooked to a safe internal temperature!

What are Salmonella and salmonellosis?

Salmonella bacteria are found naturally in the intestines of animals, especially poultry and swine. The bacteria can also be found in the environment. People who eat food contaminated by Salmonella can become ill with salmonellosis.

What are the symptoms of salmonellosis infection?

Like other foodborne illnesses, the symptoms of salmonellosis can feel like the flu. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and usually lasts up to seven days. Or, you may experience chronic symptoms, such as reactive arthritis three to four weeks later. Others infected with the bacteria may not get sick or show symptoms, but they can carry the bacteria, and spread the infection to others.

How does the bacteria spread?

Salmonellosis can be spread from person-to-person. Both animals and people infected with the bacteria can be carriers. Therefore, proper hygiene, safe food handling and preparation practices are key to preventing foodborne illness. If you think you are infected with Salmonella or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food for other people unless you wear disposable gloves and follow safe food handling procedures. It's a good idea to keep pets away from food storage and preparation areas. After handling pet treats, pet food and pet toys or after playing with, or cleaning up after your pet, it is essential to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Where has Salmonella been found?

Food can become contaminated with Salmonella during the slaughter and processing of an animal, when food is handled by a person infected with Salmonella or from cross-contamination because of unsanitary food handling practices. The following listed below have been responsible for foodborne illnesses:

- raw and undercooked meat (especially poultry)

- raw fruits and vegetables (especially sprouts and cantaloupes) and their juices, e.g. apple or orange juice

- raw or undercooked eggs

- unpasteurized dairy products, like raw milk and raw milk cheeses
- pet treats

Will cooking destroy the bacteria?

Like many other harmful bacteria that could be in our food, Salmonella are destroyed when food is cooked to a safe internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your food. See table.

Foodsafe tip: Cooking a chicken? A turkey? For maximum safety, food safety experts recommend cooking the stuffing in a separate dish. Why? It takes longer for the stuffing and the meat to reach a safe internal temperature, so why not un-stuff and save time? Stuffing and meat must each reach separate safe internal temperatures. See table.

Is it safe to eat raw or lightly cooked eggs?

Foods made from raw or lightly cooked eggs can be harmful, particularly for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. When serving eggs to people in these high risk groups, cook them thoroughly. See table.

Foodsafe tip: Try using pasteurized egg products when preparing food that traditionally contain raw eggs, such as eggnog, mayonnaise, salad dressing, ice cream and mousses. Pasteurization destroys harmful bacteria.

Defeating Salmonella: A 4-Point Plan

1. Get off to a CLEAN start!

- Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. Do you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food? Wash again when you switch from one food to another.

- Are your countertops and utensils clean and sanitized? Sanitizing reduces bacteria and can prevent foodborne illness.


- Combine 5 mL (1 tsp) of bleach with 750 mL (3 cups) of water in a labelled spray bottle.

- After cleaning, spray sanitizer on the surface/utensil and let stand briefly

- Rinse with lots of clean water, and air dry (or use clean towels).

Foodsafe tip: Because raw fruits and vegetables can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses and parasites, wash them thoroughly with clean, safe running water before you prepare and eat them. Use a brush to scrub produce with firm or rough surfaces, such as oranges, cantaloupes, potatoes and carrots.

2. CHILL your food and stop bacteria cold!

- Bacteria can grow in the danger zone between 4 C and 60 C (40 F to 140 F). Keep cold food cold at or below 4 C (40 F).

- Refrigeration at or below 4 C (40 F) slows down most bacterial growth. Freezing at or below -18 C (0 F) can stop it completely. (But remember: refrigeration and freezing won't kill bacteria. Only proper cooking will do that!)

Foodsafe tip: Keep your eggs cold! Store them in their original carton (so you can easily check the "best before" date) and place them in the coldest section of the fridge, usually near the back. Only buy clean and uncracked eggs.

3. SEPARATE! Don't cross-contaminate!

- Bacteria can be carried in raw meat juices. Place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Use containers that are large enough to prevent raw juices from dripping onto other food or touching other food. Platters, utensils and cutting boards used for raw meat can carry bacteria, too. Use clean ones for cooked food!

- Keep raw food away from other food while shopping, storing and preparing foods.

Foodsafe tip: Platters, utensils and cutting boards used for raw meat can carry bacteria, too. Use clean ones for cooked and other ready-to-eat food!

4. COOK safely!

- Have you cooked your food to a safe internal temperature? Use a digital food thermometer to check the temperature of your food. See table.

- Bacteria can grow quickly in the danger zone between 4 C and 60 C (40 F to 140 F), so keep hot foods at or above 60 C (140 F).

Foodsafe tip: The only way to be sure that your food is cooked properly is to use a food thermometer to check.

When is my food ready to eat?
Food Temperature

fully cooked and ready-to-eat meats You can eat it cold or
(e.g. ham, roast) you can heat it.
beef and veal steaks and 63 degreesC (145 degreesF) medium-rare
roasts 71 degreesC (160 degreesF) medium
77 degreesC (170 degreesF) well done
pork chops, ribs, roasts; 71 degreesC (160 degreesF)
ground beef, ground pork and
ground veal, including
sausages made with ground
stuffing and casseroles, hot dogs, 74 degreesC (165 degreesF)
leftovers, egg dishes;
ground chicken and ground turkey,
including sausages made with
ground chicken/turkey
chicken and turkey breasts, 74 degreesC (165 degreesF)
legs, thighs and wings
chicken and turkey, whole bird 85 degreesC (185 degreesF)

Safeguarding Canada's Food Supply

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the Government of Canada's science-based regulator for animal health, plant protection and, in partnership with Health Canada, food safety.

For more information on food safety or to order free copies of this brochure, visit the CFIA website at or call 1 800 442-2342/TTY 1 800 465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday to Friday). You can also find food safety information on the Health Canada and Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education websites respectively at and

Contact Information

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Media Relations office