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Parents and caregivers: Master food labels for allergy-safe lunches and snacks

Whether you are sending your child to daycare, school or camp, reading food labels is a requirement for parents, family members and caregivers of children with food allergies.

By communicating with teachers and caregivers (including daycare providers, camp counsellors and grandparents), you can help ensure an allergy-friendly environment.

Follow these tips if you want to pack lunches and snacks with confidence.

The ABCs of food allergies and warnings

If you have a child in school, daycare or camp with a food allergy, you will need to learn what to watch for in the list of ingredients on food labels.

Caregivers of children with food allergies should pay close attention to warnings such as: "contains" or "may contain" when checking the ingredient list for allergens. If you're a parent or caregiver of a child who doesn't have an allergy but knows someone in school, camp or daycare who does, look for suitable alternatives.

Check the ingredient list – every time

Manufacturers can change ingredients without notice, so it's important to do the "Triple Check" – where you read the ingredient label three times: at the store (or online) before buying, at home when putting it away, and again when packing the food to be eaten.

When in doubt, don't pack it! If you find missing information, mistakes or unclear guidance on the label, report it to the CFIA.

Communication is key

Here are steps you can take to help teachers and caregivers keep your child safe.

By working together, you can help create a safe environment that allows kids to enjoy their snacks and meals without worry.

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Let's spread the word, not the allergen.

Stay informed on new recalls announced for undeclared allergens by signing up for our food recall notifications.

Learn more about how you can help protect your child with food allergies by visiting our website or visiting our partners at Food Allergy Canada.

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