Ottawa – Foods high in saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium will be required to carry a label on the front of the package, according to Health Canada. The label will include a magnifying glass icon, which is intended to grab people’s attention, and will serve as a quick visual cue to identify foods that are high in nutrients.
The regulations will go into effect on July 20, but food companies will have until January 1, 2026, to comply.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said: “The new front-of-package labeling regulations will allow consumers to make informed decisions about their food. They also recognize the nutritional value of some foods that are either unprocessed or barely processed, such as calcium in dairy products. Processors have who would like to do this a few years back to revise their processes and, in some cases, improve their recipes.”
Foods that require a nutrition symbol on the front of the package include packaged foods that meet or exceed 15% of the daily value for saturated fat, sugars, or sodium. Foods in this category include deli meats, soups, frozen desserts, and desserts.
Foods packaged with a small reference amount (less than or equal to 30 grams or 30 milliliters) that meets or exceeds 10% of the Daily Value for one of the three nutrients, will also be required to carry the front package label. Foods in this category are pickles, salad dressing, crackers, or breakfast cereals. Health Canada noted that because these foods are consumed in smaller quantities and contain concentrated sources of nutrients, they have a lower threshold.
Frozen lasagna, meat pies or pizza products, referred to as prepackaged main dishes with a reference quantity greater than or equal to 200g and meeting or greater than 30% of the Daily Value for a nutrient, will also be required to carry a new label. These products have a higher threshold because they are consumed as a main dish and are expected to make up more of the consumer’s daily nutrients, according to Health Canada.
Foods excluded from the new regulation are recognized as being of health protection benefit to the entire population or vulnerable population groups. Some of the products in the exemption category include whole, chopped, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried vegetables and fruits; 2% whole milk. egg; foods with a healthy fat content such as vegetable oils, nuts, and fatty fish; Any combination of these foods.
Regular yogurt and cheese are also excluded, as they are important sources of calcium. One-ingredient raw meat and poultry received an exemption to avoid giving the impression that they were nutritionally inferior to whole cuts that would also not be required to carry the nutrition code.
Health Canada added that foods will lose their exemption if they are formulated with an ingredient that contains saturated fats, sugars and/or sodium.