Foods high in saturated fat, sugars, or sodium will now receive call outs on food packaging labels in Canada. The front-of-package nutrition symbol is black and white in color, has a magnifying glass, and highlights what the food is high in . . . sodium, sugars, saturated fat, or any combination of these. While the regulation went into effect on July 20, 2022, the food sector has until January 1, 2026, to fully implement the change.
According to the government of Canada, this shift in food labeling took place to call out food components that may contribute to diseases such as stroke, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancers.
Foods that require the new front-of-package nutrition label include packaged items that contribute over 15% of the daily recommended allowance of sodium, sugars, or saturated fat. In many cases, dairy products can trip one of the triggers. However, the Canadian government offered up exemptions for several dairy products. These include:
• Milk and cream sold in refillable glass containers.
• Certain dairy products, such as plain milk, plain yogurt, and cheese because these products are important sources of calcium that is needed to promote bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
• Butter, sugar, and salt.
While these are some of the exemptions offered up by the government of Canada, there are other food labeling asterisks. Included in that group is pizza and frozen lasagna. That’s if the pizza pie or lasagna weigh over 200 grams and contain less than 30% of daily recommended allowance of saturated fat, salt, or sugar. These higher thresholds came about because these entrees would be considered a main dish.
Time will tell how these new labeling standards play out. If the traditional pathway of government regulations occurs . . . some exemptions may sunset one day. If that actually happens, dairy could be in the crosshairs for a front-of-package labeling call out.
Again, time will tell.