Canada Announces New Front-of-Package Labeling
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FAND
At the end of June, Health Canada announced a mandatory front-of-package (FOP) label for products “high in” sodium, sugar, and/or saturated fat with a compliance date of January 1, 2026. The rationale for this requirement is the relationship of these nutrients to the risk of stroke, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. Additionally, there is a suggestion that this type of regulation could motivate food companies to reformulate products to lower the sodium, sugar, and saturated fat content of their products so as to not require this FOP label.
While the full regulation is not yet available, the proposed regulation suggested the following levels to indicate a “high” level of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat:
Different guidelines were proposed for foods targeted at children older than age one but younger than four. Some food categories are exempt from the label, including raw, single ingredient whole cuts of meat, poultry, and fish, single ingredient ground meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables without added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat, certain dairy products, such as plain milk, yogurt, and cheese, and foods intended for sale to the foodservice industry. The FOP nutrition symbol is black and white with a magnifying glass and highlights what the food is high in: sodium, sugars, saturated fat or any combination of these.
Whether in Canada, the US, or other region of the world, retail dietitians can use this new regulation for a variety of purposes including:
- Informing nutrition guardrails for private label brands. For Canadian retailers, dietitians can play a key role in assessing private label products that exceed these limits and recommending key products for reformulation.
- Benchmarking for “RD Picks” and similar product and shelf tags.
- Informing limits for products that are promoted within retail RD programs and services.
For more information on this regulation, click here.