June 22, 2015
TO: JPA Members
FROM: Patricia Faison
RE: JPA Regulatory Update: Canada Proposes Revisions to Food Nutrition Labeling
In 2014, JPA notified members that the Government of Canada had announced proposed revisions to the country's nutrition labeling regulations. JPA subsequently submitted comments to Health Canada expressing concern regarding a number of the proposed changes to the nutrition labeling regulations.
Canada recently published a News Release and other materials, available here, detailing the proposed revisions to Canada's nutrition labels in response to comments made by the food industry, consumers and health organizations and parents in consultations held in 2014. Below are highlights of the proposed revisions. The details in black font represent the revisions proposed in 2014. The text in red font details whether the proposals have been maintained during the current consultation.
Nutrition Facts Table
1. Bold and increase the font size of "Calories" to make it more prominent on the label. This change is being maintained.
2. Reorder the nutrients such that the nutrients to limit (fat, cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrates) are listed first in the upper part of the label and the nutrients Canadians may want more of are listed in the lower half of the label. This specific proposal is not being maintained; however, the order of nutrients on the proposed label has been revised.
3. Separate the Daily Values (DVs) for saturated fat and trans fat. The proposed change is not being maintained.
4. Add a declaration for "added sugars." The proposed declaration for "added sugars" is not being maintained.
5. Add a percent DV (% DV) for "total sugars" of 100 grams. This proposed change is being maintained but slightly revised. The DV for "Sugars" (as opposed to "total sugars") would be 100 grams for the general population but for children 1 year of age or older but less than 4 years of age, the DV would be 50 grams. The table of proposed DVs for nutrients is available here.
6. Add absolute amounts for vitamins and minerals. This change is being maintained.
7. Require the declaration of potassium and vitamin D. Canada is now propossing that the declaration of potassium on label be mandatory but not vitamin D.
8. The declaration of vitamins A and C would no longer be mandatory. This change is being maintained.
9. Add an asterisk after "% DV," and include a message in the footnote, "5% DV or less is little, 15% DV or more is a lot." This change is being maintained but the messaging is, "5% or less is a little; 15 DV or more is a lot."
10. Move the serving size information to the right hand side of the Nutrition Facts table to allow the eye to flow across the information. This change is not being maintained but the font size of the serving size information would be increased.
11. Revise the DV for sodium from 2,400 milligrams (mg) to 2,300 mg. This change is being maintained for the general population. The DV for sodium for children 1 year of age or older but less than 4 years of age would be 1,500 mg.
12. Increase the DV for vitamin C from 60 mg to 90 mg. This proposalis being maintained for the general population. For children 1 year of age or older but less than 4 our years of age, the DV would be 15 grams. For infants 7 months of age or older but less than 1 year of age, the DV would be 50 mg.
1. The list of ingredients to appear in a distinctive box with the title, "Ingredients." The proposed change is being maintained.
2. All sugars to be grouped together in parenthesis after the term "Sugars." For example, Sugars (molasses, brown sugar). This proposed change is being maintained.
3. Include fruit juice concentrate in the definition of "added sugar." The recently published Fact Sheet does not define "added sugar" but the Fact Sheet includes a number of food products as examples of "sugars" including "fruit juice, concentrate and purees that are added to replace sugars in foods."
4. Include bullets to separate each ingredient. This proposed change is being maintained.
5. Health Canada is also proposing that food colors be listed by common name rather than listed as "Colour."
A Fact Sheet detailing the proposed revisions related to the Nutrition Facts Table is available here. A Fact Sheet regarding the ingredient statement is available here. A Fact Sheet regarding the "Sugars" declaration is available here.
1. For most foods that can be measured, the serving size of the product would be the same as the reference amount. The serving size would include the household measure (e.g., cup, teaspoon) and metric equivalent (e.g., grams). This proposed change is being maintained.
2. For foods that come in pieces (e.g., cookies), the serving size of the product would be the number of pieces closest to the reference amount, and the metric equivalent would be declared as well. The proposed change is being maintained.
3. For foods that are divided prior to consumption, (e.g., wheel of cheese), the serving size would be the fraction of food closest to the reference amount, and the metric equivalent would also be declared. This proposed change is being maintained.
4. The serving size of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, sliced bread, certain meat (e.g., whole chickens) would be a consistent household measure reflecting the way these products are typically consumed. The weight of the serving in grams would also be declared. For example, the serving for bread would be two slices. This proposed change is being maintained.
A Fact Sheet with details regarding the serving size is available here.
The deadline to submit written comments to Health Canada is August 26, 2015. JPA staff will be reviewing the proposed revisions in detail to determine what, if any, additional efforts will be undertaken regarding this initiative. The majority of JPA's comments were not accepted. A copy of the comments previously submitted to Health Canada may be obtained by contacting me. Please submit your comments to me by the close of business on July 17, 2015.
JPA will continue to monitor and provide updates, as information becomes available.
As always, please contact me with questions or comments.
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