Canada soon could group sugars together on food labels

Country’s government proposes changes to nutrition labels, asks Canadians for feedback.

Sugar policy in Canada
Under the proposed changes, all sugars would be grouped together on nutrition labels. 

Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister of Health, has launched a series of online public consultations on proposed changes to the way nutrition information is presented on labels. 

The proposed changes are to the format of the Nutrition Facts table, the list of ingredients, the list of nutrients that must appear in the table, and to the Daily Values.

It also includes changing how ingredients are listed, including grouping sugars together, so parents and consumers have a clearer picture of how much sugar is added to the food and the label is easier to read.

Finally, another key proposal is to provide guidelines to the industry to make the serving sizes displayed in the Nutrition Facts table more consistent among similar products.

"Our Government wants parents and consumers to have the information they need to better understand and use food labels to make healthier food choices,” Ambrose says.

The overall goal of the proposed changes is to provide Canadians with the nutrition information they need to make informed decisions about the foods they buy and prepare for themselves and their families.

"The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) is pleased to hear about the consultations regarding proposed nutrition labelling changes,” says Richard Blickstead, president and chief executive officer, Canadian Diabetes Association. “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. We look forward to participating in these consultations that can help all Canadians make healthier food choices."

These consultations are part of a broader commitment made by the Government of Canada during the 2013 Speech from the Throne to consult with Canadians on how to improve the way nutrition information is presented on food labels.

The consultations will run for 60 days, from July 14 to September 11, 2014.

Quick Facts:

• The proposed label changes reflect feedback received by Health Canada from parents and consumers during round table sessions and an online consultation in the winter 2014.

• Canada is a world leader in the field of nutrition labelling and was one of the first countries to require mandatory nutrition labelling on pre-packaged foods.

• The results of this current series of consultations will help inform the decisions about changes to nutrition labelling.

Related items:

Consulting Canadian Parents and Consumers on Proposed Changes to Nutrition Information on Food Labels

Fact Sheet - Proposed Changes to the Look of the Nutrition Facts Table and the List of Ingredients

Fact Sheet - New Serving Size Guidelines to Make Comparing Foods Easier

Fact Sheet - Better Understanding the Sugar Content of Our Foods

Associated Links

What We Heard Report

Healthy Canadians - Serving Size

Interactive Tool: Understanding a Food Label

Food Labelling for Industry

Food Labelling Modernization

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