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2010-2011 Undeclared Allergens in Sauces, Marinades and Dressings


The Food Safety Action Plan (FSAP) aims to modernize and enhance Canada's food safety system. As part of the FSAP enhanced surveillance initiative, targeted surveys are used to evaluate various foods for specific hazards.

The use of sauces, marinades and dressings in Canada has increased because of today's busier lifestyles and the introduction of a wide variety of multi-cultural foods in everyday life. Sauces, marinades and dressings are pre-packaged products that allow for easy preparation of foods.

The main objective of the undeclared allergens in sauces, marinades and dressings survey was:

Sauces, marinades and dressings are pre-packaged products used to infuse or enhance the taste of the finished food. A total of two hundred and fifty sauces, marinades and dressings were sampled and analyzed for the presence of the following undeclared priority allergens: soy, egg, milk, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts and sesame, as well as for undeclared gluten. Samples were collected based on retail availability. Examples of sauces, marinades and dressings sampled for this survey included BBQ sauces, vinaigrettes, hot sauces, steak marinades, salad dressings, sweet and sour sauces and dipping sauces.

Positive results were evaluated to determine if the level of undeclared allergen represented a health concern to allergic individuals. Follow up action may involve a food safety investigation, including a health risk assessment conducted by Health Canada and a recall or one of the following: notification of manufacturer/importer and/or additional sampling. Of the 250 samples tested 11 samples tested positive for one or more of the undeclared allergens. In total, there were 5 positive samples for milk protein, 4 for gluten, 1 for hazelnut and 1 for egg. There were no undeclared soy, sesame, peanuts or almonds found in any of the 250 samples of sauces, marinades and dressings analyzed.

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