Canada to slap front-of-package nutrition labels on foods that pose certain health risks

Jun 30 2022, 4:40 pm

Health Canada has announced that front-of-package nutrition labels are coming soon and has released images of how the labelling will look.

The label will be required on foods that meet or exceed set sugar, sodium, and/or saturated fat levels.

“Frequently eating foods high in sodium, sugars. or saturated fat can lead to increased health risks,” said Health Canada in a press release.

Conditions these foods can lead to include obesity, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer.

While the government is giving the nation’s food industry until January 1, 2026, to make this change to products, consumers could start seeing front-of-package nutrition labels on items at stores soon.

This move is aimed at helping grocery shoppers make informed decisions about potential food purchases much faster.

Information will be displayed in English and French. Here are Health Canada’s final designs of the label.

Health Canada

And here’s what it’ll look like on varying food items.

front-of-package nutrition labels

Health Canada

front-of-package nutrition labels

Health Canada

front-of-package nutrition labels

Health Canada

According to the federal health agency, foods that’ll require a label include:

  • General prepackaged foods that meet or exceed 15% daily value (DV) of saturated fat, sugars, or sodium. This could include deli meats, soups, frozen desserts, or puddings.
  • Prepackaged foods with a small reference amount (less than 30 grams or millilitres) that meet or exceed 10% DV of saturated fat, sugars, or sodium. This could include pickles, salad dressing, cookies, or breakfast cereals.
  • Prepackaged main dishes with a reference amount of over 200 grams that meet or exceed 30% DV of saturated fat, sugars or sodium. This could include frozen lasagna, meat pie, burgers, or pizza.

Exemptions

Whole or cut vegetables and fruits that are fresh, frozen, canned or dried; 2% and whole milk; eggs; plain yogurt; cheese; seasoning salt; honey; maple syrup; cereals; foods with a healthy fat profile, such as vegetable oils, nuts and fatty fish; and any combination of these foods are not on the front-of-package nutrition labelling list.

However, they could lose their exemptions if made with an ingredient high in sugar, sodium, or saturated fat.

Earlier this month, Health Canada announced that ground beef will soon come with a health warning label. But raw, single-ingredient ground meats and poultry will be exempt from front-of-package nutrition labels to “avoid giving the impression that they are nutritionally inferior to whole cuts that do not carry a nutrition symbol.”

For more details, check out Health Canada’s announcement and backgrounder on the subject.

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