1996). This report identified important strategies for Canadians to reduce health risks and supported the need for improving the usefulness of nutrition labeling, increasing its availability, and broadening public education on its use. In June 2001 Health Canada undertook a final consultation on proposals to improve nutrition information on prepackaged food labels, including nutrition labeling. On December 12, 2002, the Canadian government issued “Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations (Nutrition Labeling, Nutrient Content Claims and Health Claims” (Canada, 2003). The new regulations mandate nutrition labeling on most prepackaged food, update and consolidate permitted nutrient content claims, and introduce a new regulatory framework and process for diet-related health claims. While companies marketing food in Canada may begin to follow the new regulations immediately, they have until December 12, 2005, to bring their labels into compliance with the new regulations. Small businesses, defined as having less than $1 million in sales, will not have to be in compliance until December 2007 (Canada, 2003).

Current Status of Nutrition Labeling

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) oversee the regulatory process of food labeling in Canada. Health Canada is responsible for setting health and safety standards and for developing food labeling policies related to health and nutrition under the Food and Drugs Act. CFIA is responsible for administering other food labeling policies and enforcing all food labeling regulations.

The new regulations require a Nutrition Facts table that is modeled after the Nutrition Facts box used in the United States (see Box 2-4). Similar to the United States, the Canadian Nutrition Facts table will be a requirement on most packaged food, but some food products are exempted (e.g., fresh fruits and vegetables; raw, single-ingredient meat and poultry, except when ground; fish and seafood; food prepared in retail establishments and individual portions prepared for immediate consumption; and alcoholic beverages).

The Canadian Nutrition Facts table includes calories and 13 nutrients in a specified order (see Box 2-4). Recommendations from and discussions with Canadian consumers, scientists, and health professionals led to the selection of the 13 nutrients (Canada, 2003). The required nutrients in the Nutrition Facts table are identical to those required in the United States, including a statement on trans fat, with the exception that the new Canadian table does not require a

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