Health Canada proposes front-of-package labels

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The government is consulting on four nutrition symbols.
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian government is seeking feedback on regulations for a front-of-package nutrition symbol that would alert consumers to foods that are high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat. The deadline for submitting comments in April 26, 2018.

Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the initiative is aimed at helping Canadians make healthier food choices. The government is consulting on four nutrition symbols.

Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor

“Identifying foods that are high in sodium, sugars, or saturated fat is not always easy, and this front-of-package symbol will make it clearer while shopping for groceries,” Petitpas Taylor said in a statement. “I invite all Canadians to participate in the process by giving us feedback on the proposed symbols.”

Milk is exempt from the labeling requirement, but the Dairy Farmers of Canada said other dairy products would be stigmatized by the label.

“We are concerned that this approach to labelling may come with the unintended consequence of deterring Canadians from seeking more information on the nutritional value of dairy products, at the expense of a balanced-diet for Canadians,” Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said in a statement. “We are pleased that the government is recognizing the nutritional benefits of whole milk, however given the importance of dairy to the overall health of Canadians, we want to make sure that as the government goes through the consultation process, they take a more holistic approach.”

Dr. Laurent Marcoux, president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) said the comment period provides an opportunity for discussion about providing Canadians access to healthy foods and easy-to-read nutrition information and guidance.

“We all know that foods that are high in saturated fats, sugars or sodium are linked to a range of cardiovascular and chronic diseases,” Marcoux said in a statement. “The addition of front of package nutrition labelling represents a step towards enabling all Canadians to make the healthy choice, the easy choice.”

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