Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling update is out – read it here!
Health Canada just published the future of Front-of-Package (FOP) nutrition labelling based on proceedings from Sept. 18, 2017 Stakeholder Engagement Meeting. The document’s summary and subsequent social media comments from scientists and regulators signal big changes for food makers. Although ‘no firm decisions were reached and re-designed symbols would be subjected to further consultations,…Health Canada concluded that a mandatory ‘high in’ front-of-package labelling system is the most appropriate to use’. Front-of-Package examples included warning symbols implemented in other countries such as Chile and Ecuador. Are you ready for something like this?
Consider if your packaged foods may have to show warning labels on front-of-package.
The ‘high in’ Front-of-Package label approach may require a black and white warning label on pack in the future but consumers already have a tool to focus on the 3 nutrients of public health concern in the NEW nutrition facts table (NFT). Have you considered what the % Daily Value (% DV) for sugars, sodium and saturated fat tells about foods? The NFT footnote explains the % DV as this: 5% or less is a little, 15% or more is a lot. The new FOP will make sure that the negative attributes of food products are represented to help Canadians make informed food choices. Health Canada recognizes that there is a gap in labelling between packaged foods and those sold in in grocery or restaurants. Future work with provincial and territorial counterparts will aim to find the best way to provide nutrition information in restaurants and other food service establishments.
Speak to a Registered Dietitian with food labelling expertise to plan your strategies.
Health Canada says ‘discussion is very important in moving this forward and we need to get it right’. We agree and encourage you to connect with Registered Dietitians who are regulated professionals accountable to the public based on the highest standards of science and ethics. Our influence runs deep and we look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable advice that supports healthy living for all Canadians.
Contact us to help you meet the demands of rethinking food labelling and to guide your team in unlocking food’s nutrition potential.
Nutrition headlines never cease to draw interest and boost readership. After all, we are all food consumers and want to know what’s hot and what’s not. Read on for our commentary of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s new advice for healthy eating and saturated fat, and the World Health Organization’s hot off the press research release on processed meat.
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal questions the effect of saturated fat on heart disease. The study also showed that there is a clear relationship between trans fats and heart health problems. Although more work needs to be done, what we see is that saturated fats (which are found naturally in red meat, dairy products and certain vegetable oils) may not be as bad for heart health as we thought. However, trans fats, which are often found in processed or fried foods should be limited in the diet.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada suggests that if you eat a “balanced diet you don’t have to worry as much about intake of saturated fat.” The Foundation also issued a statement “advocating for moderation and choosing whole foods instead of processed ones.”
Another statement recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO) points to processed and red meat consumption as a risk factor for cancer. The WHO media release states: “The experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%”. While these numbers sound dramatic, food and nutrition experts caution that they need to be taken in context.
As registered dietitians we closely follow the research, the evidence and the headlines and will elaborate on the key issues in our future programs and newsletters. For now we recommend you consider the big picture of an overall healthy dietary pattern with our top 3 tips below:
Vary your daily protein choices.
Include lean meats, poultry and fish (in smaller amounts) along with plant based meat alternatives such as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Dietitians of Canada recommends limiting processed meat consumption, in part due to the association with cancer risk as well as the high levels of sodium in these meats.