Health Minister Jane Philpott says the government intends to change the country’s Food Guide and overhaul food labelling rules as part of an effort to make Canadians healthier.
Philpott announced the opening of the consultations today during a speech to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Montreal.
The Food Guide revision will include an online consultation on Health Canada’s website with health professionals and everyday Canadians until Dec. 8.
The guide was last updated in 2007 and Philpott says she’s heard from Canadians they find it difficult to navigate or apply its recommendations.
The federal Health Department aims to have updated dietary guidelines by the end of 2018 that will reflect the most up-to-date scientific evidence on diet and health.
Philpott says new labelling norms for certain products will also be introduced, notably to better identify different types of sugars.
Here’s a look at some of what is planned:
1. Revising the venerable Canada Food Guide to keep it current with the latest scientific thinking, to better help people make healthy eating choices and to reflect the following facts.
Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease;
A higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased risk of obesity in children;
Canadians are not eating enough vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and alternatives;
About 30% of calories come from foods that are high in fat, sugars and sodium;
People aren’t getting enough calcium and fibre.
2. Stronger rules governing nutrition and ingredient labelling, including:
Regulating serving sizes to make it easier to compare similar products;
Providing more information on sugars in the Nutrition Facts table and the list of ingredients;
Requiring food colours to be identified by their common name;
Making the list of ingredients and allergen information easier to read;
Allow a new health claim that associates a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with a lower risk of heart disease;
3. Reducing sodium in foods in accordance with sodium reduction targets established in 2012, publicly evaluating the food industry’s voluntary efforts to meet targets, and compile estimates on how much sodium Canadians consume.
4. Eliminate industrially produced trans fat.
5. Restrict marketing to children.
(The Canadian Press)