I am here today as a parent who deals with anaphylaxis; a volunteer member of NASK (Niagara Anaphylaxis Knowledge and Support group); and, a member of a group of families from local community anaphylaxis groups across Canada who are working with MPs to help raise awareness in Ottawa for issues concerning severe, life-threatening allergies.
My son David is anaphylactic. He was diagnosed at 2 years of age with severe allergies to peanuts, some tree nuts, and legumes – beans, peas, lentils, and the whole of the legumes family. This fact has caused our family to make lifestyle changes that will ensure David has a safe environment to grow up in. Our family is very careful about the food we eat. David is 7 years old today – and for years now he has known not to put anything in his mouth that he is not 100% sure is safe.
Shopping for us, at times, is challenging. We read food labels a lot. We are the family that go, aisle to aisle, reading every label before putting the product into our shopping cart. We read the labels a few times in the store – and again at home. David even knows what to look for on the labels. For us, this is habitual. It is also absolutely necessary.
We depend on food producers and packagers to label contents correctly. Over the years, labels concerning allergens have been getting better. However, there are still times when the label is unclear and we are unsure. When food contents become a guessing game, our family rule is that we don’t purchase the product. We need to be 100% sure.
That is why this announcement today is so important for our family. These new regulations will make our shopping trips a lot less confusing. Clear, consistent, standardized labeling will make shopping a lot easier. When these regulations come into effect, no doubt, our family’s shopping trips will be safer.
So, we are pleased to have made the trip from St. Catharines to be here to hear the Minister announce that the Government is moving forward with these important new regulations. Thank you Minister.
I also want to thank the 4 Niagara MPs who support NASK, and the almost 40 MPs from all Parties who have worked with our families and expressed their commitment to raising awareness of anaphylaxis on Parliament Hill and within the federal bureaucracy.
Thank you to MP Dean Allison for his Motion 546 relating to anaphylaxis. Thank you to Dean and St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra for your work on this important matter of food labeling. Our family appreciates the work you have done for us – and I know I speak for many families and friends in Niagara who appreciate your efforts.
Thank you again, Minister Aglukkaq, for making our day.