Front of package labelling will help food choices and encourage healthier product innovations
Feb 09, 2018
OTTAWA, ON — Dietitians of Canada is pleased to support proposed Front-of-Package labelling as well as other important amendments to Food and Drug Regulations in Canada Gazette 1 (CG1) announced today by Health Canada. The announcement represents an important step in Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy towards making the healthy choice the easier choice for Canadians.
“This front-of-package labelling will help Canadians to more quickly compare products and make healthier food choices for their households,” said Nathalie Savoie, CEO of Dietitians of Canada, in support of the draft regulations. “A regulated requirement will also encourage product innovation, providing more food products that are lower in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.”
The proposal from Health Canada will require the addition of an easy-to-recognize symbol on the front of a packaged food if the amount of sodium, sugar or saturated fat exceeds a threshold. Adding this new information will balance voluntary claims about positive nutrient features like “excellent source of fibre” to further inform Canadians as they make food choices for their families. The introduction of these mandatory regulations marks positive change for a more supportive and healthier food environment in Canada. Making healthy choices requires more than individual willpower and knowledge – that’s why dietitians champion change that makes it easier to make healthy choices.
The proposed amendments in CG1 focused on front-of-package labelling, as well as addressing other important regulatory changes in nutrient content claims, labelling of artificial sweeteners, definitions related to trans fats and vitamin D fortification. Dietitians of Canada will draw on the collective expertise of our members, with their diverse roles across the food and health systems, to review and assess the various elements of CG1 and contribute to the finalization of these new regulations.
About Dietitians of Canada
- It is estimated that the proposed label would appear on about half of current processed packaged goods in Canada.
- The proposed threshold value for requiring a front-of-package label about “high in” sodium, sugar and/or saturated fat is 15% of daily value (DV) in a food serving, with some exceptions.
- Chile implemented similar front-of-package labelling in 2016. Nine out of ten consumers (91.6%) said that the label influenced their purchase in some way in a post implementation evaluation.
- The evaluation of the label implemented in Chile also determined that 18% of products have been reformulated since implementation.
- Since 2012, voluntary reformulation to reduce sodium content in Canada’s food system has been limited– targets were met in only 14% of food categories, with half making no meaningful progress and some levels of sodium actually increased
- Dietitians of Canada has been actively participating on the development of these proposed regulations since 2016.
Dietitians of Canada is the professional association for dietitians, representing members at the local, provincial and national levels. We aim to advance health through food and nutrition and to provide leadership in shaping food and nutrition policy. Dietitians are driven by curiosity to understand the science behind food and its connection to health.
Dietitians of Canada supports the access of Canadians to evidence-based food and nutrition information and helps them locate a dietitian for nutrition counselling and nutrition services at dietitians.ca/find
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Kate Comeau, MSc, RD
Manager, Public Relations and Media
Dietitians of Canada