Health Canada announced that it’s reviewing its policy on food fortification. According to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the aim is to bring Canada’s policies more in line with those in the U.S.
The review also means food processors may be allowed to fortify what is commonly known as junk food with vitamins and minerals.
Hot button issue
And that’s proven to be a hot button issue, with experts coming out on both sides.
According to the CMAJ article, some groups, such as the Dietitians of Canada, are concerned that consumers will choose these fortified junk foods over healthier whole food options. Others in the industry feel it would be a boon to the processed food industry and provide health benefits.
Health Canada says it conducted its own focus groups across the country to test if consumers would be more likely to choose fortified junk food over healthier food options.
Will we eat more junk food?
What it found was that Canadians “are unlikely to choose foods of limited nutritional value over healthy foods simply on the basis of fortification.” And it found that there was no evidence that Canadian consumers would increase their consumption of “junk” foods just because they were fortified.
Health Canada went on to say that those consumers “who already consume ice cream or carbonated beverages indicated that they might choose the fortified counterpart if there was no difference in any other aspect of the food including taste and price, but they did not indicate they would consumer more.”
The proposals haven’t been finalized or announced publicly by Health Canada.