Nutrition Labelling Rules: Canada

Nutrition Labelling Rules

Health Canada has announced new mandatory nutrition labelling to help Canadians make informed choices for healthy eating. Consumers will soon start to see more information about the nutritional value of most prepackaged food under new labelling requirements that were published on January 1, 2003.

The new regulations require most food labels to carry a mandatory Nutrition Facts table listing Calories and 13 key nutrients.

“Nutritional information is essential to helping Canadians make informed choices for healthy living,” said Minister McLellan. “The Nutrition Facts table will allow Canadians to compare products more easily, assess the nutritional value of more foods and better manage special diets.”

Under the new regulations, producers of prepackaged foods will have to declare the number of Calories and the amount of fat, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron in a specified amount of food.

Criteria for nutrient content claims have been updated to better meet consumer health needs. Diet-related health claims pertaining to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and high blood pressure will be allowed for the first time in Canada.

The economic burden of a poor diet in Canada is estimated to be $6.3 billion annually, including direct health care costs of $1.8 billion.

Previously, nutrition labelling was voluntary and the information wasn’t always presented in the same way. Under the new regulations, foods will be labelled with more complete, consistent and accessible nutrition information.

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