Canada’s food labels for saturated fats, sugars and sodium are a good step, expert says

You will soon notice new labels on pre-packaged food products that contain high levels of saturated fat, sugars or sodium.

The food industry has been given until January 1, 2026 to make the change, which is being applauded by many.

Diana Bedoya, a lecturer in kinesiology at Simon Fraser University, is among those who strongly support the new warnings.

“I think it’s fantastic. I think this has been happening for a long time. It’s been planned for quite some time. It worked in other countries – in Mexico and Chile,” Bedoya explained.

“There is evidence to support that if people have more information about nutrition and it’s just more obvious and easier to understand, they’re more likely to make better decisions. So I completely agree. »

According to Health Canada, the new labeling will include a magnifying glass « intended to grab people’s attention and act as a quick and easy visual cue to identify foods high in these three nutrients. »

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The symbol will appear on the back of the package and complement the Nutrition Facts table, which is already on prepackaged items.

“For some people, it won’t change their behavior at all. But I think at a population level, and if a large portion of our population is not eating well, eating a lot of ultra-processed foods and the types of foods targeted by this initiative, that’s enough to make at least one bit of a dent in some of our nutrition and health issues,” Bedoya added.

Most pre-packaged foods will require the new front-of-package (FOP) nutrition symbol. However, some items will be exempt. Those that will need to include the symbol can include things like soups, frozen desserts, pickles, salad dressings, and pizza.

Ground meat will be exempt from labels, after breeders’ groups opposed Health Canada’s proposal earlier this month.

Information to help you make informed choices

Bedoya says that while labels can help people make healthier food choices, she understands that making some of these changes at the consumer level can be difficult, given that many processed foods are generally less expensive on the market. purchase.

“The way the food industry works is that it makes a lot of financial sense for them to heavily process food so it stays on the shelves longer. It also makes them much cheaper. Outside of major centers in Canada, it’s harder to get fresh food and vegetables, so it might be harder for those communities,” she told CityNews.

“I agree that there is something to be said about this that maybe has more effect on some of these communities than others, but I still think it is important to have that information there and also what they’re hoping for is that maybe the industry sees a drop in sales of their most processed foods and they maybe start to reformulate or maybe not to formulate , to outsource some of these foods to keep sales high. So maybe it’s not just the consumer and maybe the producers as well, » Bedoya continued.

« Food is something we enjoy and I think we should continue to enjoy it. With these new labels, I don’t think now is the time to start being afraid of food, but maybe just be more aware of the types of food we are going to eat.


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