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Mandatory nutrition labelling comes to Canada. (News Briefs/Nouvelles en Bref).

Labelling the nutritional value of prepackaged food has traditionally been voluntary in Canada and the information provided was inconsistent. Under Canada's new labelling regulations, foods will be labelled with more complete and accessible nutrition information. The new regulations require most food labels to carry a mandatory nutrition facts table listing calories and 13 key nutrients.

"Nutritional information is essential to helping Canadians make informed choices for healthy living," said Health Minister Anne McLellan. "The nutrition facts table will allow Canadians to compare products more easily, assess the nutritional value of more foods and better manage special diets."

Under the new regulations, producers of prepackaged foods will have to declare the number of calories and the amount of fat, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fibre, sugars, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron in a specified amount of food. Some foods and beverages are exempted from the new labelling requirements, such as fresh fruit and vegetables and raw single ingredient meat and poultry that are not ground. While some manufacturers may choose to start placing the nutrition facts table on labels almost immediately, companies have up to three years to comply with the new regulations. Small businesses have five years.

The Nutrition Facts table will usually appear in a standard format, making it easier to find and use. Criteria for nutrient content claims have been updated to better meet consumer health needs. Diet-related health claims pertaining to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and high blood pressure will be allowed for the first time.

The new regulations will be supported by public education, including a distinct package for First Nations, to help Canadians understand and use nutrition information to make informed choices for healthy eating. The economic burden of a poor diet in Canada is estimated to be $6.3 billion annually, including direct health care costs of $1 .8 billion.

Canadians can get more information on nutrition labelling and claims as well as copies of Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating by calling 1 800 O-Canada or by visiting www.healthcanada.ca/nutritionlabelling.

Health Canada
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Comment:Mandatory nutrition labelling comes to Canada. (News Briefs/Nouvelles en Bref).
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:350
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