Canada Moving forward on FOP labeling

by Editor
Monday, December 04, 2017
Photo: Health Canada
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Health Canada is in the process of determining symbols for FOP labeling. Current strategies detail the use of symbols and text to quickly convey the desired message to consumers.

An initial public consultation was held from 14 November, 2016 to 13 January, 2017. Additionally, stakeholder meetings were held with various industry groups. Health Canada has indicated that FOP label designs should be finalized in 2018.

Health Canada published a tender on the Government of Canada’s procurement website on 31 August, 2017, seeking bids for a graphic design firm to develop FOP labels for Health Canada as well as a compendium and graphics guide to be used in outreach to the food processing industry and by FOP label designers. The duration of activities is anticipated to encompass the next two Canadian fiscal years (2017-2018 and 2018-2019) with an estimated value of CAD$90,000 plus taxes. The design process will primarily focus on adapting new FOP labeling symbols from a number of stock symbols.

In a 2015 mandate letter to the Minister of Health, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requested that public health be promoted, in part, by improving food labels with respect to added sugars. In October 2016, Health Canada identified objectives for FOP labels to help Canadians make food choices, as part of the Health Eating Strategy. Specifically, Health Canada identified a need to have the right tools to access, understand and use nutrition information to make healthier choices.

Three key nutrients of concern to public health were identified for FOP “high in” labels:

• Sodium

• Sugar and

• Saturated fat.

Initial threshold proposals for mandatory labeling are based on a 15% daily value of the nutrient for prepackaged foods and a 30% daily value for prepackaged meals.