OTTAWA (January 2, 2003) - The federal government finalized new rules making the most sweeping changes to food labelling in decades. The rules will require comprehensive nutrition labelling on most foods sold in retail stores, and set new standards for nutrition and health marketing claims on food packages and in advertising.
The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) waged a vigorous six-year campaign urging Parliament and Health Canada to require nutrition labelling on all foods and to set strict standards for preventing the misleading use of health-related marketing claims.
This is a very significant government effort to help enhance public health, and Health Canada deserves credit for making it happen, said Bill Jeffery, CSPI National Coordinator. However, we are disappointed that the regulations do not require companies to list the amount of sugars that are added to processed foods, and do not mandate nutrition labels for all packaged fresh meat, poultry and seafood.
According to Health Canada, mandatory nutrition labels are predicted to trigger dietary changes that will yield benefits totalling $5 billion over the next two decades due to decreased health care costs and increased productivity. CSPI also praised Health Canada for standing behind its proposal to require useful labelling of trans fat (despite food industry lobbying to dilute or drop the requirement) and for requiring nutrition labelling on fresh ground meat.
The new rules and images of the label format designs can be viewed at pages 154 to 403 of the January 1, 2003 edition of the Canada Gazette Part II, available on the Internet at < http://canada.gc.ca/gazette/hompar2-2_e.html >.
The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is an independent consumer health advocacy organization with offices in Ottawa and Washington, D.C. CSPI's Canadian advocacy efforts are supported by over 100,000 subscribers to the Canadian edition of its Nutrition Action Healthletter. CSPI does not accept industry or government funding.