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Canada Proposes New Nutrition Labels

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

Health Canada has proposed changes to nutrition labels on food. The changes include updates to the Nutrition Facts table (NFT), which would display serving sizes in common household measurements followed by a metric equivalent; indicate the amount of potassium, while removing totals for vitamins A and C; and add a footnote that explains percent daily values, suggesting that a value of five percent or less represents "a little" and 15% or more constitutes "a lot" of the recommended daily intake for a particular ingredient. The proposed amendments also would include a percentage daily value for sugar based on a total of 100 grams, and would reformat the way sugars are identified in the list of ingredients to make it easier to understand the amount and source of sugar. A new health claim would be allowed on pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, indicating that the consumption of these foods is associated with a reduced risk of developing heart disease. The proposed amendments also would require manufacturers to list food colors by their common name within the list of ingredients on the label to align the regulations with those of other food additives and to protect consumers who may have sensitivities to certain food colors.

Meanwhile, aesthetic changes have been suggested to enhance the readability of food labels. The proposals include using a dark font on a white or neutral background, presenting all words in sentence case and separating ingredients with bullets.

Health Canada has proposed a five-year compliance timeline for these regulations. The public can submit comments on these proposed changes through August 27, 2015.

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