Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Health Canada proposes 'easier to read and understand' nutrition labels

A new guide to serving sizes could make it easier for consumers to compare foods, Health Canada says. (Nati Harnik/Associated Press
Health Canada is proposing changes to nutrition labels on food that would make them easier to read.
The proposed labels would emphasize calories, change the order of nutrients to focus on those nutrients Canadians may want less of, and require information about the amount of "added sugars."

"Today our government is proposing changes to nutrition facts that we do believe address concerns parents have raised," Health Minister Rona Ambrose said Monday.

The changes will make it easier to read and understand labels, she said.

Ambrose has launched a series of online public consultations on the proposed changes.

The consultations run for 60 days, until Sept. 11.
Nutrition Facts proposal
Some of the proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label that goes on food products are intended to help consumers find details, such as calories, more quickly. (Health Canada)
Among the proposals is that serving sizes be more consistent for similar foods and better reflect what people typically eat at one sitting, such as two slices of bread.
 nThe proposed changes also aim to improve the understanding of ingredients.

"Parents want to know how much sugar is being added in total to their children's cereal, for example," Ambrose said.

"Whether it's molasses or brown sugar, all types of sugars will be grouped together. This makes the label much more transparent and allows shoppers to quickly see how much added sugars are in a food, compared to other ingredients."

Vitamin A and vitamin C amounts will no longer need to be listed. Under the proposal, vitamin D and potassium would need to be listed on the label. Health Canada said many in the Canadian population are not getting enough of the those two, which puts them at higher risk of chronic disease.


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