Canada Gazette, Part I consultation on proposed food label changes

Notice

This public consultation closed at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on August 27, 2015.

Canada is proposing to make improvements to the nutrition facts table and list of ingredients on food labels. Learn about the Canada Gazette, Part I consultation process and the proposed changes.

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Commitment to consult with Canadians

Canada committed to consult with consumers, especially parents, on ways to improve nutrition information on food labels. Based on the commitment outlined in the October 2013 Speech from the Throne, we took action to get feedback from Canadians. The consultation process is outlined below.

  • January to April 2014
    • The Minister of Health met with parents and consumers, and launched an online questionnaire on food labels.
  • June 2014
    • Health Canada published a What We Heard report that outlined the feedback from these consultations. This report also included feedback from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Food Labelling Modernization Initiative.
  • July to September 2014
    • Health Canada held consultations with consumers and stakeholders on proposed changes to food labels. These included changes to serving sizes, sugar labelling and the list of ingredients.
  • Winter 2014 to spring 2015
    • Health Canada analyzed the feedback and made changes to the proposals for further consultation.
  • June 2015
    • Canada Gazette, Part I publication and consultation begins.

Summary of proposed changes to food labels

The proposed changes for packaged food labels reflect the latest science and eating habits of Canadians. They also take into consideration feedback obtained from Canadians and stakeholders throughout 2014.

In general, the proposed changes are as follows.

  • Regulate serving sizes to make them consistent and realistic. This change will make it easier for Canadians to compare similar foods. It will also help them make informed food choices for themselves and their families.
  • Make it easier to find information on serving size and calories.
  • Add a footnote at the bottom of the nutrition facts table to explain how to use percent daily value (% DV). This footnote will help consumers know how much of a nutrient a serving of food contains. It explains that:
    • 5% or less is a little
    • 15% or more is a lot
  • Improve the labelling of sugars. A new % DV for sugars will tell Canadians whether a food has a little or a lot of sugars. In the list of ingredients, sugars will be grouped. This will help consumers see how much added sugars are included compared to other ingredients. It will also help consumers identify unfamiliar sources of sugars, such as:
    • fancy molasses
    • malted barley
    • fruit juice concentrate
  • Make the ingredient list and information on allergens easier to find and read.
  • Identify food colours by their common name in the list of ingredients. This will help consumers who have sensitivities to certain food colours to avoid those ingredients when shopping for food.
  • Allow the use of a new health claim: "A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits may help reduce the risk of heart disease."

Figure 1. Proposed Nutrition Facts Table

Proposed nutrition facts table - Text Description

Left justified at the top of the table is the heading Nutrition Facts and stacked below it is the heading Valeur nutritive. Both are in bold. The next line is Per ½ cup open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis. The next line is pour ½ tasse open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis. There is a thin rule below pour ½ tasse open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis that spans the width of the table. The next line is Calories in bold followed by 80, also in bold. Right justified on the same line is the subheading percent symbol Daily Value in bold. Stacked under this is percent symbol valeur quotidienne also in bold. Percent Daily Value has an asterisk that refers to a footnote at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts table. There is a thick rule under the Calories information that ends after the number 80. It does not span the width of the table.

Left justified on the next line is Fat, forward slash, Lipides in bold followed by 0.5 and a lowercase g. Right justified on the same line is the number one followed by a percent symbol. The next line is Saturated, forward slash, saturés followed by 0 and a lower case g. The next line is a plus symbol followed by Trans, forward slash, trans followed by 0 and a lowercase g. Right justified and vertically centered against the saturated and trans information on the left is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule below the trans information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Carbohydrate, forward slash, Glucides in bold followed by 18 and a lowercase g. The next line is Fibre, forward slash, Fibres, followed by 2 and a lowercase g. The next line is Sugars, forward slash, Sucres, followed by 15 and a lowercase g. Right justified on the same line is the number 15 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the sugars information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Protein, forward slash, Protéines in bold followed by 3 and a lowercase g. There is a thin rule under the protein information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Cholesterol, forward slash, Cholestérol in bold followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. There is a thin rule under the cholesterol information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Sodium in bold followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thick rule under the sodium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Potassium followed by 200 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 4 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the potassium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Calcium followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule below the calcium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Iron, forward slash, Fer followed by 0.3 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 2 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thick rule under the iron information that spans the width of the Nutrition Facts table.

The next line is the percent Daily Value footnote that was referred to at the beginning of the table description. The footnote starts with an asterisk followed by the statement: 5 percent symbol or less is a little, forward slash, 5 percent symbol ou moins, c'est peu on one line and stacked under it the statement: 15 percent symbol or more is a lot, forward slash, 15 percent symbol ou plus c'est beaucoup. The terms a little, a lot, peu, and beaucoup are in bold. This is the end of the Nutrition Facts table.

There is text shown around the outside of the table with arrows pointing to the proposed changes within the table. This is described below.

Starting on the right side of the table, there is an arrow pointing to the serving size information followed by text which says: Serving Size information increased.

Also on the right side of the table, there is an arrow pointing to the 15 percent symbol on the sugars line followed by text which says: percent symbol Daily Value for Sugars is added.

At the bottom right outside of the table, there is an arrow pointing to the amounts of potassium, calcium and iron which are circled within the table. The note says: Amounts of Potassium, Calcium and Iron are shown.

At the top left outside of the table, there is an arrow pointing to the Calories line with a note which says: Increased size of Calories, with thick underline.

Also on the left side and in line with the Fat, Carbohydrate and Protein information within the table, there is a square bracket with a note which says: Nutrients that provide Calories are listed below Calories.

The next arrow outside the table on the left side points to the sodium line with a note which says: Sodium is moved down close to Potassium.

Next, there is a square bracket outside the table in line with the Potassium, Calcium and Iron information within the table, with a note which says: Vitamin A and Vitamin C are removed; Potassium is added.

At the bottom left outside of the table, there is an arrow pointing to the percent Daily Value footnote followed by text which says: Quick rule.

Figure 2. Proposed list of ingredients

Figure 2
Proposed list of ingredients - Text Description

Pictured here is a white box outlined by a black rule. All text inside the box is black with the first letter of each ingredient capitalized. A bullet separates each ingredient in the list. There are 5 lines of text that run horizontally within the box.

The first line starts with the word Ingredients in bold followed by a colon. This is followed on the same line by Sugars, open parenthesis fancy molasses, brown sugar, sugar close parenthesis.

The next line starts with a bullet followed by Wheat flour, followed by a bullet, followed by Vegetable oil shortening, open parenthesis soybean and/or. The list continues on the next line with the word canola oil and modified palm oil close parenthesis. Next, there is a bullet followed by Liquid whole egg, followed by a bullet, followed by Salt.

The next line starts with a bullet followed by Sodium bicarbonate, followed by a bullet, followed by Spices, followed by a bullet and Allura red.

The last line in the box starts with the word Contains, in bold, followed by a colon. This is followed on the same line by the ingredients Wheat, followed by a bullet, followed by Egg, followed by a bullet, followed by Soy.

There is text shown around the outside of the box with arrows pointing to the proposed changes to the list of ingredients.
Above the box there are two arrows with a note which says, Black font: upper and lower case. There is a third arrow pointing to the sugar ingredients with a note which says: Grouping of sugars-based ingredients.

Outside and to the right of the box are square brackets with a note which says: Minimum font size required.

Below the box there is an arrow pointing to white space and a note which says: White or neutral background. Also below the box there is an arrow pointing to the ingredient - Allura red with a note which says: Food colours listed by name.

Outside and to the left of the box is an arrow pointing to a bullet and a note which says: Bullets to separate ingredients.

How Canadians and stakeholders can get involved

Canadians and stakeholders are invited to provide comments to the Canada Gazette, Part I consultation. Please provide your comments in writing to the address below by August 27, 2015.

Address

Health Canada
Office of Legislative and Regulatory Modernization
Policy, Planning and International Affairs Directorate
Address locator: 3105A
1600 Scott Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9

Contact information

You can also submit comments to us by fax at 613-941-7104 or by email.

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