Canada unveils new front-of-package nutrition symbol

Health Canada

June 30, 2022 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada

Keeping Canadians healthy is one of the Government of Canada’s top priorities. Having clear and easy to access information on the foods Canadians find in their grocery stores is an important part of that.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced new nutrition labelling regulations for packaged foods to help Canadians make informed food choices. These regulations will require a new symbol to be displayed on the front of packaged foods that are high in saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium. Manufacturers have until January 1, 2026, to change their labels and comply with the new requirement.

The new nutrition symbol includes a magnifying glass and text to draw attention to important information Canadians should consider as they are buying groceries. The symbol will complement the Nutrition Facts table displayed on the back of food packages.

Front-of-package nutrition labelling is widely recognized by scientists and health organizations, including the World Health Organization, as an effective tool to help individuals make informed choices. Research shows that a simple, clear symbol on the front of food packages will help consumers choose foods lower in saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium.

Front-of-package nutrition labelling is a key part of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, which aims to improve the food environment in Canada, make it easier for Canadians to make informed food choices, and lower the risk of diet-related chronic diseases. Other components of the Strategy include the updated Nutrition Facts table and Canada’s food guide, which offers recipe ideas, tips for healthy eating, and healthy eating resources.

Quotes

“We want all Canadians to have the information they need to make healthy food choices. In the coming years, the symbol will make it easier for you and your family to make informed choices. This simple, yet effective nutrition symbol will promote healthy eating for all Canadians.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos

Minister of Health

“The new front-of-package labelling regulations will allow consumers to make informed decisions about their food. It also recognizes the nutritional value of certain foods that are either unprocessed or barely processed, such as calcium in dairy products. Processors who wish to do so have a few years to review their processes and, in some cases, improve their recipes.”

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Mandatory, front-of-package nutrition labelling is a policy tool that can provide the whole population with prominent, reliable and easy to understand nutrition information to help identify healthier choices and reduce the consumption of foods and beverages high in sodium, sugars and saturated fat.”

Doug Roth

Chief Executive Officer, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

“Diabetes Canada applauds the Government of Canada for taking an important step toward promoting healthy eating through the legislation of front-of-package (FOP) labelling on many of the foods and beverages available in the Canadian marketplace. Simple and consistent FOP labelling is an important tool for promoting healthy options when making decisions on what to purchase and consume. Research shows that, done effectively, food and beverage labelling can inform people of what is in their food, thereby helping them identify and choose healthier products.”

Laura Syron

President & CEO, Diabetes Canada

Quick Facts

  • Across the country, two in five adults have chronic diseases such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
  • Health Canada is targeting saturated fat, sugars and sodium with its new front-of-package nutrition labelling regulations because of strong evidence linking their excess consumption to increased risks of chronic disease.
  • It is estimated that a reduction of 400 mg of sodium per day, achieved over a 10-year period, would result in up to 40,000 fewer cases of coronary heart disease and 23,000 fewer cases of stroke annually.

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