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Canada demands clearer nutrition labels

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By Jenni Spinner+

18-Jul-2014
Last updated on 21-Jul-2014 at 12:06 GMT

The Canadian government is calling for changes to the content and format of on-pack food nutrition labels.
The Canadian government is calling for changes to the content and format of on-pack food nutrition labels.

The Canadian government is proposing changes to its labels on food packaging to make the data more accessible and easily understood by consumers.

Officials in Canada are seeking public input on proposed changes to regulations affecting nutrition information on food packaging.

Consumer input

Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, recently announced a series of online public consultations, enabling civilians to lend their input on the proposed label shifts. The official said the changes are based on in-depth conversations with Canadian consumers.

Earlier this year, our Government consulted with parents and consumers on ways to improve the way information is presented on food labels; today, we are proposing changes to the nutrition information on food labels, based on what we heard,” she said. “These changes will make it easier to read and understand labels and help Canadians make healthy food choices for themselves and their families.

Packaging changes

The suggested alterations involve the format of the Nutrition Facts table, ingredients list, nutrients required to appear in the table, and the suggested Daily Values. It also would affect how ingredients are listed and grouped together, such as clustering the sugars so consumers can more readily determine how much sugar and other items are actually in a product.

Various health-focused associations and advocacy groups have expressed support for the changes. Heath Richard Blickstead, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association, said the proposed label alterations could be a boon for people struggling with dietary restrictions.

Easy-to-understand nutrition labels help people make informed choices about the foods they eat, that are vital for preventing type 2 diabetes, managing diabetes and preventing complications,” he said.

Additionally, the suggestions (if implemented) would set forth clear guidelines to food firms, to make serving sizes displayed in the Nutrition Facts box. The Canadian government is accepting comments on the proposed changes until September 11, 2014.

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