Edmonton, Alberta — As the FDA explores changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) on packaged foods, the Canadian Ministry of Health (Health Canada) has announced proposed changes to the NFP and ingredients list on packaged foods to present relevant nutrition information more effectively.
Revising the label is part of a larger effort to keep Canadians informed about nutritional content of foods, announced during the 2013 Speech from the Throne. According to Health Canada, the changes reflect the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Food Labelling Modernization Initiative and feedback from extensive consultations with consumers and health and nutrition experts conducted earlier this year.
Among the changes: calories will be moved to the top portion of the label and will be printed in boldface in a larger font; serving size will be moved to the right of the panel; nutrients of concern to the public — fats, carbohydrates, cholesterol and sodium — will list %DV; added sugars will be declared; and absolute amounts for vitamins and minerals will appear.
The order in which nutrients are listed also will change: those consumers will want less of will appear at the top of the table with %DV; more desirable nutrients such as fiber, calcium and iron will be called out with %DV at the lower part of the panel. As in the proposed NFP changes for U.S. consumers, values for vitamins A and C will be replaced with those for vitamin D and calcium. In addition, the %DV statement will be clarified.
Presentation of the ingredients list also will change to make it easier to find, read and understand. Similar to the NFP, the ingredients box will use clearer, darker fonts and will separate ingredients with bullets, and types of related ingredients such as sugars and fats will be grouped.
An additional proposal would provide guidelines to the food industry to make recommended serving sizes consistent among similar types of items.
Comments from the public will be accepted online at hc-sc.gc.ca through September 11, according to Health Canada.