The Honorable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, took a major step forward in giving Canadians the information they need to make healthy food choices for themselves and their families by unveiling several initiatives including proposed changes to nutritional labeling regulations.
The proposed labeling changes aim to make it easier for Canadians to read labels and the Nutrition Facts table. Mandating consistent serving sizes will make it easier to compare nutrient contents of similar foods, and make more informed choices when selecting foods for themselves and their families. The ingredient list on the proposed new label would also be easier to read.
The labeling changes respond to comments made by parents, consumers and health organizations and the food industry in earlier consultations held throughout 2014.
The Government of Canada is also breaking new ground in the labeling of sugars on foods. Proposed changes would give Canadians clear information about the sugars contained in the foods they eat. The proposed addition of a percentage daily value for sugar and changes to the way sugars are identified in the list of ingredients will make it easier to understand how much sugar is in a product, whether there is a little or a lot of sugar, and what the source of sugar is.
Minister Ambrose also announced new public education tools, including a My Food Guide mobile application and the Eat Well Plate, to help Canadians apply the dietary guidance of Canada’s Food Guide to build a healthy meal.
The Eat Well Plate will help Canadians visualize food proportions, and encourages them to make half their plate vegetables and fruit. The new My Food Guide mobile application will help Canadians access healthy eating information anytime, anywhere. The My Food Guide app allows individuals to create an easy-to-use customized Canada's Food Guide and will help them understand Food Guide servings and types of foods to choose for a healthy diet.
Canadians will be consulted on the proposed regulatory changes to the nutrition information on food labels for a 75-day comment period, ending on August 27. These changes are being published in Canada Gazette, Part I on June 13, 2015.
- This labeling proposal delivers on a commitment made by the Government of Canada during the 2013 Speech from the Throne to consult with Canadians parents and consumers on how to improve the way nutrition information is presented on food labels.
- Health Canada received feedback from over 10,000 Canadians.
- This proposal also requires that manufacturers list all food coloring agents by their common name within the ingredient list on the label. This will allow consumers who have sensitivities to specific food colors to avoid those ingredients when shopping for food.
- A new health claim would also be allowed on pre-packaged fruits and vegetables that would make it easier to let Canadians know about the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.
“Our Government is breaking new ground with our proposal on the labeling of sugars on foods sold in Canada. Nowhere else in the world will consumers have the kind of information Canadians will have about the sugars contained in the foods they eat. This information will help them understand how much sugar is in a product, whether it’s a little or a lot of sugar, and where the sugar comes from.”
Minister of Health
“Parents told us they have difficulty comparing similar food products because the serving sizes displayed on labels were inconsistent and did not reflect the amount of food they typically eat. For this reason, our Government is mandating the standardization of serving sizes so Canadians can more easily compare products and make better decisions about healthy foods.”
Minister of Health
"The proposed changes will help dietitians better guide Canadian's food choices. Specifically, the grouping of sugars within the list of ingredients, as well as updated % Daily Values and the change to standardized serving sizes in the Nutrition Facts table, will make it easier for consumers to identify foods best suited to their health needs."
CEO, Dietitians of Canada
"The Heart and Stroke Foundation is pleased to see these proposed revisions to nutrition labeling, in particular, mandatory standardized serving sizes for similar products and more complete information about sugars in the ingredients list. We believe these to be steps in the right direction towards providing Canadians with better information to make healthy food choices.”
VP, Research and Knowledge Exchange, Heart and Stroke Foundation