Health Canada making food labelling amendments
Regulation changes are expected to make the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients on packaged foods easier for Canadians to use and understand
Jane Philpott, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced amendments this week to the country’s Food and Drug Regulations to make the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients on packaged foods easier for Canadians to use and understand.
According to a government press release, this is the next step in Health Canada’s “Healthy Eating Strategy,” which was announced earlier this fall with the launch of the revision of Canada’s Food Guide. The overall strategy aims to make healthy food choices the easy choice for all Canadians, laying out how Health Canada will deliver on the Government’s commitments to reduce sodium in processed foods, eliminate industrially produced trans-fat, provide consumers with more information about sugars and food colours, and introduce restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children.
Included in the labelling amendments are changes to the regulation of serving sizes to make comparing similar food products easier. Packages will include a simple rule of thumb — five per cent is a little, 15 per cent is a lot — which has been added to the Nutrition Facts Table to help Canadians use the percent daily value (% DV) to better understand the nutritional composition of a single product or to better compare two food products.
More information on sugars will also be made available, including a percent daily value for total sugars in the Nutrition Facts table, and the grouping together of sugar-based ingredients under the name “sugars” in the list of ingredients.
“We have updated nutrition facts tables on pre-packaged foods in a way that is based on science and that will meet the needs of Canadians feeding their families,” says Philpott. “We are also consulting on innovative ways to present nutrition information on food labels, such as front-of-pack labelling, to help Canadians make healthy choices on sugars, sodium and saturated fat.”
Additionally, all food colours will be declared by their common name rather than the generic term “colour” and the list of ingredients and allergen information will be easier to read; and a new health claim will also be allowed on fruits and vegetables, informing Canadians about their health benefits.
According to Health Canada, the food industry has until 2021 to make these changes.